Another great green tax?
Homeowners awoke on Sunday morning to read about the Rudd Government’s proposed new mandatory energy assessment of all homes before they can be rented or sold. The cost was estimated at up to $1500 per home!
Typical of government-sanctioned leaks, it was short on detail but the intention was clear. The Government wants to impose a new cost on all homeowners and property investors in a futile attempt to tackle carbon emissions.
The premise is quite simple and has a certain allure to those who like symbolic gestures as long as they don’t have to wear the cost. Every home will be assessed for energy efficiency and rated so that prospective purchasers (or tenants) will be able to judge the ‘green cred’ of the premises.
There was no detail on just who would carry out these assessments but it’s a fair bet that those who were duped into training for the Government’s failed green loan assessment scheme might be given another opportunity to cash in on this latest green scheme.
Of course, with the Rudd Government in charge any activity is expected to come at a hefty price for the general public. Media reports have that cost as high as $1500 per assessment.
Homeowners will foot the bill and many will expect that money back when they sell, thereby lifting property prices above where they would otherwise be. Even if they can’t recoup their costs, it’s an additional impediment for either the seller or the purchaser.
Not surprisingly, at $1500 per home, the total cost of assessing Australia’s 8.1 million residential dwellings gives rise to a new green tax of a staggering $12 billion plus!
And for what purpose? Is anyone really going to stop making one of the most important decisions of their lives based on whether the right light globes are fitted or not? Can we really expect a missing ratings ‘star’ will stop you buying your dream home?
Such simplistic solutions are the subject of green fantasies rather than reality.
There is one other thing to consider. Surely a more efficient and just as effective method of displaying the greenness of any particular dwelling would be to provide the last four quarters electricity bills as part of the real estate disclosure documents?
It would achieve more or less the same result and cost a whole lot less than this proposed new $12 billion green tax. But that would be too sensible for this Government wouldn’t it?
Cory Bernardi is a South Australian Liberal senator. His columns and essays are available at his website.