A 2018–19 Australian Federal Budget based on solid infrastructure spending and positive tax measures offers measurable value for the HVAC&R industry, according to the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH).
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AIRAH CEO Tony Gleeson, M.AIRAH, says the government’s commitment to substantial and important infrastructure projects should benefit Australia in general, and the HVAC&R industry in particular.
“The Budget covers some big infrastructure commitments for a range of positive projects, with all major announcements being rated as high-priority initiatives by Infrastructure Australia,” Gleeson says. “To support future growth and prosperity in our cities, the Turnbull government now must leverage these investments into a growth plan – in partnership, of course, with the various states and territories.
“We see benefit in this considerable infrastructure spend and the associated productivity gains that will come from upgraded transport links – and in particular, energy-generation projects. Such spending will be repaid through its impact on Australian corporate competitiveness.
“In the very short term it will contribute to employment gains and economic activity in the construction sector, countering an impending residential construction showdown.”
The Budget’s forecast of 3 per cent GDP growth, a healthy employment outlook and a return to surplus in 2019/20 are all good things, Gleeson says.
AIRAH executive manager – government relations and technical services, Phil Wilkinson, F.AIRAH, says the Budget could deliver more sustainable communities.
“AIRAH applauds the allocation of $37.6 million in funding over five years from
2017–18 for measures to improve energy affordability, reliability and sustainability,” Wilkinson says. “This includes implementation of the Finkel Review recommendations. These initiatives have the potential to improve liveability, amenity and resilience across our communities – which can only be seen as positive.
“Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be a serious plan to tackle climate change and transition to the clean jobs the 21<sup>st</sup> century requires.
“And The Budget is largely silent on funding additional measures to help Australia meet our international emissions-reduction targets and maintain our world-leading position on sustainability in the built environment.”
AIRAH will continue to voice the view that it’s important to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions via the adoption of appropriate refrigerants, integrated resilient design, commissioning and good maintenance.
“Although there are some very admirable elements in the 2018–19 Federal Budget, the Institute will continue to talk to those in power about the things important to us and our members,” Gleeson says.