Increased Energy Efficiency

To achieve this, a Shorten Labor Government will:

  • Double Australia’s energy productivity by 2030;

  • Introduce new emissions standards for motor vehicles to reduce emissions in the transport sector;

  • Support policies that reduce per capita environmental impacts in our cities, including more efficient building design and public transport systems; and

  • Broaden Infrastructure Australia’s role to include new assessment criteria of smart infrastructure and sustainability.

Doubling Australia’s energy productivity

Labor is committed to doubling Australia’s energy productivity by 2030 (on 2010 levels)

by building on the COAG Energy Council’s National Energy Productivity Plan 2015-2030 and drawing on the work of Local Governments, the Green Building council and 2XEP Alliance which includes business groups such as BCA, ACCI and AIG.

Case Study

In the United States, price reductions in LED bulbs have transformed the economics of the industry. Adoption of standards and incentives are helping to drive up LED deployment and drive down costs. Since 2008, cost per lumen has dropped almost 90%. Current LED bulbs are up to seven times more efficient than incandescent bulbs while lasting about 25 times longer.

Is doubling energy efficiency by 2030 too much?

No. Doubling energy efficiency is fully supported by key business peak bodies such as BCA, ACCI and AIG.

Light vehicle standards

Labor is committed to the introduction of mandatory light vehicle standards consistent with advice from the Climate Change Authority. We will reduce the emissions intensity for all light vehicles from the current 192g CO2/km to 105g CO2/km in 2025 through the implementation of mandatory standards that align with standards being introduced in the United States. These standards will be phased-in from 2020.

The CCA predicts that such changes would:

  • Deliver fuel savings of $830 in the first year;

  • Save $8,500 in fuel costs over the life of the car; and

  • Save Australia $580 for each tonne of CO2 avoided.

Growth of low emissions vehicles

In addition to developing light vehicle standards, a Shorten Labor Government will put in place policies to promote and encourage the growth of low emissions vehicles such as those powered by electricity or Hydrogen. These would include consideration of policies such as:

  • Working with the states to provide incentives such as registration fee holidays;

  • Accelerate the development of standards to harmonise charging stations and billing methods;

  • Reduce barriers to electric vehicle charging in homes; and

  • Coordinate efforts with State Governments, Councils, and the private sector for required infrastructure.

Will putting emissions standards on cars just increase the cost?

No. The proposals we’ve canvassed are supported by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries and recommended by the Climate Change Authority (CCA).

In fact the CCA research shows a net saving of $7,000 in fuel costs over the life of an average car (i.e. Increase cost of car purchase $1,500, but save $830 on fuel in first year and $8,500 fuel save over life of the car).

Australia has one of weakest vehicle emissions standards in the developed world and this will be bring us more into line with the United States.


A coordinated and integrated approach to urban policy development can improve the productivity, sustainability and liveability of major cities in Australia. 

We support investing in active transport solutions which connect up with public transport, education and employment hubs.

We also believe in supporting renewable energy including buildings and precincts that produce their own power in new developments.

Increasing the resilience of our cities does more than simply prepare them for the potentially devastating effects of climate change. It also ensures they play their part in addressing the shift to a carbon-constrained economy. 

“ACCI supports measures to rapidly improve Australia’s energy productivity… Achieving 2XEP would deliver a GDP increase of $3000/person by 2030 and would cost effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% from the current forecast“ 


It makes sense that projects submitted to Infrastructure Australia demonstrate sustainable infrastructure. Commercial and residential buildings alone are responsible for approximately 23 per cent of our greenhouse gas emissions. Labor has already announced that sustainability would be considered by new projects submitted to Infrastructure Australia under a Shorten Labor Government.

In March 2016 it was announced that a Labor government would toughen assessment of proposed major infrastructure projects by requiring the incorporation of smart infrastructure technology and sustainability measures before projects qualify for Commonwealth funding. Under current arrangements, the independent Infrastructure Australia advises the Commonwealth on major projects in terms of cost-benefits analysis and whether they fit in with existing infrastructure.

“A Labor Government will broaden Infrastructure Australia’s role, adding new assessment criteria of smart infrastructure and sustainability to increase value for public money and take action to improve liveability of major cities.”
– Anthony Albanese


Australia remains a relatively energy intensive economy by OECD standards. Energy productivity improvements in recent years have been poor, against both OECD and G20 averages. Over the past two decades, for example, China has improved its energy productivity twice as fast as Australia. We currently sit in the bottom quartile of OECD nations on this important economic measure.

Want more details?

Download the summary fact sheet here 
or download the full policy document here.