The Application of Taxation Benefits and Incentives for Green Buildings

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Conference Proceeding
State of Australian Cities National Conference, 2011, pp. 1 - 10
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Australia's National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development endorses the establishment of taxation systems that take into account the social and environmental costs of resource use. In the context of the construction industry, the Green Building Council of Australia similarly promotes the concept of Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) and recognises the need to integrate economic instruments with sustainable practices. Historically, taxation incentives for ESD are available to the developer who outlays the funds as part of the development and construction process. However, the Green Building Council of Australia observes that 'developers tend to focus on initial costs, rather than costs over the lifecycle of the building'. The purpose of this paper is to undertake a textual analysis of current and proposed legislation and policy instruments at the Commonwealth level to critique the distribution and application of tax incentives available to stakeholders in a commercial building. It is argued that some of the taxation incentives are of benefit mainly to the developer, since these incentives are primarily targeted towards the initial costs of the building rather than the life cycle of the building. Therefore, it is questionable whether this focus accords with the policy and intent of Australia's ESD strategy. The research concludes with recommendations for changes in the application of taxation benefits and incentives for green buildings.
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