Better energy efficiency lowers electricity bills, manages energy demand and helps the climate. Unfortunately, Australia is going nowhere on this cheap, simple measure.
I was a federal environment official for 13 years. Streamlining approvals for big infrastructure projects is a big environmental risk, unless it's done properly.
As well as an infrastructure spending boost, governments are fast-tracking approvals. But these processes exist for a reason. If we get projects wrong, we live with the consequences for decades.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, regional Australia needs local government to emulate the example of the local councils that brought prosperity to North Queensland after the second world war.
A long-term housing stimulus package that focuses on retrofitting to cut energy demand would also help households repay the debts being accumulated during this crisis.
Of 2,646 hectares of public land being prepared for sale in Victoria, 24 sites are suitable for building high-quality public housing in places of high need. Why isn't the land being used for this?
A large part of the debt the Indonesian government is taking on to fight the COVID-19 pandemic is as a 50-year loan in US dollars. That could create a big problem in coming decades.
Smaller projects are better for delivering broad, long-term value to communities across the country, reducing inequality and cutting emissions, as well as quickly providing jobs and economic stimulus.
The federal government is spending $94 million to buy cheap oil. Instead, Australia should use the money to manufacture our own energy.
The federal opposition’s idea for a bullet train from Melbourne to Brisbane is not a good use of a generation’s worth of infrastructure spending. It won't even work as an economic stimulus.
Now is the time for a two-pronged strategy to ensure everyone has a home: a spot-purchasing program to find homes for people now in emergency accommodation, followed by social housing construction.
Construction employs one in ten Australians, with a broad range of skills, using mostly locally made materials. Building social housing would meet urgent social needs as well as creating jobs.
Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg have done well with support packages so far. But more might be needed to save the country from the worst of the economic fallout from the crisis.