25 February 2010 – Mandatory Disclosure, expected to take effect later this year was likely to be delayed, delegates at Green Cities 2010 conference heard this week, as a  string of accusations of bad management and program cancellations continue to beset the Federal Government agenda to green the built environment.

According to Property Council chief executive officer Peter Verwer, the rules that will require owners of commercial property of more than 2000 square metres to disclosure energy use at the time of sale or lease, won’t be introduced on schedule. Most of the industry believes this was to be 1 July.

However, Canberra sources told The Fifth Estate that the date was never specified; merely that the measures would occur in the “second half of the year.”

Given the workload involved – and no doubt the distractions from green building program failures – Mandatory Disclosure was likely to take longer than expected. Given the prospect of a federal election later this year there was also a chance that Parliament may not have a winter sitting in which case, expect the set back to be even longer.

However, if Parliament does sit in winter, the legislation would likely go through. A definitive statement will come in March TFE understands.

The news came earlier this week, ahead of today’s announcement that the Auditor General would immediately commence an audit into the mis-management of the Green Loans Scheme, at the same time that the Environment Minister Peter Garrett’s separate audit though PricewaterhouseCoopers is under way.

Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne said the Green Loans Scheme was “an excellent idea that turned into an utter debacle”  through mismanagement by Mr Garrett’s  department.

Other green setbacks include the Green Home Loans dropped, insulation rebates for homes scaled back, and over-issuing of renewable energy certificates for solar installations that caused a plunge in market prices for RECs and have eroded confidence in renewable energy.

Not to mention the failure of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme to pass the Senate last year and its relegation this week to the back burner.

However, the Federal Government may not have given up on a scheme to control emissions. Reports this week indicated it is chasing a replacement interim scheme that would effectively be a carbon tax.

Newspaper reports this week said Climate Change Minister Penny Wong met Greens senator Christine Milne and Independent senator Nick Xenophon to discuss carbon pricing as an interim measure. The Greens propose $20 a tonne but Senator Xenephon is happier with $2 or $3 a tonne.

The Fifth Estate – sustainable property