Victoria’s state government has announced it will introduce legislation that will extend Environmental Upgrade Agreements to every Victorian councils.
The agreements, which finance upgrades through a council rates-based financing mechanism, are currently only available within the City of Melbourne and the industry has pushed long and hard to have these mechanisms extended.
The Local Government Legislation Amendment (Environmental Upgrade Agreements) Bill 2015 was announced at the Monash Training and Seminar Centre in Oakleigh on Frida.
Minister for Energy and Resources, Lily D’Ambrosio said it was part of the government’s commitment to improving efficiency of commercial buildings to save energy, water and waste, “and create more jobs”.
“Typically, many businesses face difficulty accessing finances for environmental upgrades,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.
Under the bill EUA financing will be available for projects that improve energy-efficiency, reduce waste and reduce water use in commercial buildings in every Victorian local government area, including regional centres such as Bendigo, Ballarat, Geelong, Warrnambool and Shepparton..
Under this system, owners and tenants repay the loan for works through a levy on council rates for the property, while gaining the benefit of lower operating costs. Loans are tied to the property itself.
Minister for Local Government, Natalie Hutchins said the government’s legislation will give local government the opportunity to upgrade buildings both to help the environment and local communities, and also to reduce their operational costs.