Treasury Laws Amendment (Improving the Energy Efficiency of Rental Properties) Bill 2018

We generally support the Bill because the benefits of modifications that improve the energy efficiency of rental housing greatly exceed the costs. We agree that the tax code should not present a barrier to more energy efficiency improvements to the nation’s housing stock by perversely incentivising landlords to retain inefficient rental properties. The money spent on energy efficiency improvements will deliver many benefits. For example, changes to improve energy efficiency in rental housing:

  • are beneficial to the occupant’s health and will reduce strain on Australia’s health system;
  • will ease pressure on households struggling to make ends meet by lowering energy use and the associated costs;
  • will reduce demand in the electricity system which will lead to lower prices for all and less carbon emissions; and
  • would create employment opportunities for additional workers implementing more improvements

A trial of the incentives described in the Bill, involving an independent review, is a sensible process for refining tax incentives for energy efficiency modifications to achieve the most benefits for Australians over time. However, the current drafting of the legislation before the Committee includes an unnecessary $300 weekly rent or below cap which will limit the incentives to landlords of the large number of low-income households in metro areas that are most likely to benefit from a reduction in energy costs. This limitation should be removed to incentivise landlords of these properties to act and gather additional insights for the independent review.

Read the full submission here [PDF]

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