Ed Cotter (right) pictured with Shristi Koirala

There’s signs a quiet green recovery is happening at the local government level according to incoming executive manager of Better Building Finance, Edward Cotter, who has just taken on the top job at the Melbourne-based organisation that supports councils in providing environmental upgrade finance. 

Cotter has been at the company since late 2019 assisting outgoing executive manager Shay Singh, who has been instrumental in driving EUA (environmental upgrade agreements) uptake, including expanding the model to councils other than the City of Melbourne.

Better Building Finance and Sustainable Australia Fund are in the business of EUAs, which are fixed-rate, long-term loans for environmental upgrades that cover up to 100 per cent of the capital costs and are paid back through council rates.

SAF provides the finance for these loans, whereas BBF provides the on-the-ground support services to councils to work through the loan and upgrade process.

Cotter says interest from South Australian and NSW councils – where the necessary legislative changes have occurred to allow EUAs – have been surprisingly strong considering the pandemic. He says councils are looking for financially viable ways to support the green recovery, and EUAs “fit that bill”.

NSW councils in particular are showing keen interest in EUAS, with Robin Mellon helping this happen as the BBF program adviser in the state.

Cotter has worked in the green building space since the early 2000s, including for the Green Building Council and various local councils. He was also involved in the early days of the Green Living Future Institute of Australia.

BBF has also been busy with the Australian government’s Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to grow the market for EUAs across Australia, including work on a billing service to reduce the growing administrative burden on councils as more businesses take up EUAs.

In other news, the AFR has reported close to 200 job cuts at technology consulting giant Accenture due to lower demand for its services. The global giant is trimming its global workforce by 5 per cent due to the pandemic, which is expected to include around 180 Australian jobs. 

Other major consultancies have also taken an axe to job numbers. KPMG for instance cut 200 jobs in April and the majority of staff accepted a 20 per cent pay cut in May. Deloitte cut 700 jobs and PwC cut 250 jobs. Ernst & Young reduced hours and salaries for staff (then in June announced an increase in profits, as did KPMG).

However, in the overall jobs market there are glimmers of hope according to figures released by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. Of the 1.3 million people who lost their jobs at the start of the pandemic, around 689,000 have found effective employment again. While these figures show promise, he warned that border closures may slow the recovery of the job market.  

In fact, with Victoria still in lookdown, the prediction is rise of about 450,000 unemployed people over August and September compared to July.

Our pick of the jobs

Engineering firm Mott MacDonald is expanding its sustainability ranks, recruiting a senior sustainability consultant to be based in Sydney.

ESD consultancy based in the Sutherland Shire, NSW, Building & Energy Consultants Australia, is looking for a sustainability consultant.

There’s signs of life in the tertiary education sector, with University of Melbourne looking for a director for its Leaders for Global Sustainability program, which will provide up to 50 scholarships per year to future leaders in sustainability. The university is also recruiting a lecturer in environmental sustainability.

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