Peter Verwer

By Tina Perinotto
22 June 2010 – The Property Council of Australia has today come out strongly in support of the proposed mandatory disclosure legislation and urged the Opposition, The Greens and Independents to pass the bill which is about to face Parliament in the final frantic days of sitting before the long winter recess and a possible federal election.

The Property Council chief executive officer Peter Verwer said that recent amendments to the Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Bill 2010 announced last week by the Federal Minister for Climate Change, Energy Efficiency and Water, Penny Wong were welcome.

“The Property Council urges the Opposition, Greens and Independents to pass the amended bill,” he said.

“The Property Council welcomes the changes to the Bill and believes that it will provide a
clear direction for building owners.”

The move follows uncertainty about the extent of lobbying to water down or delay the proposed legislation, especially given the tight timeframe to pass the bill in this current frantic sitting of Parliament before the winter recess.

At last week’s Built Environment Meets Parliament summit Mr Verwer told The Fifth Estate that the concessions announced by the Minister during her presentation at BEMP, were a starting point.

They were the “basis for the way forward”, he said The details needed to be examined, but the move signalled that the Government was “listening to the industry.”

Now it appears the dialogue has inched forward and tipped into positive territory.

“The Property Council has engaged constructively with the Government and the Opposition to ensure the bill is workable and effective, although closer monitoring and review of the scheme will be essential,” Mr Verwer said in today’s statement.

“We welcome the agreement to extend the transition period and changes to the proposed punishing penalty regime,” he said.

“We also welcome the Government’s commitment to review the legislation, before it is expanded, to ensure that it is operating efficiently and effectively.

“The Government has committed to the Opposition and the Property Council that building owners won’t be penalised due to bureaucratic delays.

“It has also promised to delay the use of the lighting tool and consult further before it is finalised.

“In the coming weeks several critical technical issues will be clarified, including the definition of office space and the treatment of new buildings, which are subject to further industry discussions”.

He said that the Property Council acknowledged that mandatory disclosure was “an important energy efficiency measure supported by both the Government and Coalition.

“The changes mean a more workable and effective set of rules to guide disclosure and gives the industry a firm basis for moving forward.”

tperinotto@thefifthestate.com.au