The story on the Baillieu government backflip on 6 star energy ratings (the Age, 16 April 2012) for new houses reveals a lack of leadership and engagement on the part of the State government on the important issue of the role of state regulation under a carbon price.
The fact that the government would even entertain walking away from the national commitment to introduce the new standard demonstrates a lack of understanding of the role of such complementary measures such as building efficiency regulations.
Building efficiency regulations are essentially consumer protection laws that allow buyers and to be confident that minimum standards have been met. Mandatory minimum standards are necessary as without them there is little or no incentive for builders to provide energy efficiency measures – the market does not deliver. This is especially the case with houses and apartments destined for the rental market.
As Victorians we should expect our government to look for ways to maintain and improve State regulations that complement the national carbon price, rather than simplistically looking to appease the housing industry and business mates with an agenda to cut green tape.