A project to create “sustainable futures” for Australia’s future through a “sustainability portfolio” would be a huge opportunity for the federal government, with “a strong track record of developing green finance”, a Treasury report said.
The National Sustainable Finance Agency, chaired by Treasurer Scott Morrison, will be tasked with identifying new financial products that are “sensible, low-cost and sustainable”, and developing a “business case” for them.
The Treasury report was tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, and was the first detailed assessment of a national finance strategy for the Commonwealth in years.
The Government has been reviewing the sector in a bid to tackle rising rates of debt and rising unemployment, and to support growth and job creation.
It will announce its next plan for financial services in December.
The report said a number of financial products could be developed and rolled out, but that the “solar-powered, low carbon and sustainable” energy market was the “most likely” to become sustainable, given its “very high” environmental footprint and “low” carbon emissions.
“It’s an exciting time to be a financial services player in Australia,” said Paul Martin, a finance expert at the Australian National University, adding that he was “pretty confident” that “a lot of people would be looking at [the] future of finance”.
But he cautioned that it was a “long way off” in terms of sustainable finance, and said it was still “a ways off” when it came to the creation of sustainable, “green” products. “
And I think it’s a real opportunity for people to really look at what we’ve done, and what we can do.”
But he cautioned that it was a “long way off” in terms of sustainable finance, and said it was still “a ways off” when it came to the creation of sustainable, “green” products.
The review was published by the Parliamentary Library of Australia, and follows similar reviews conducted by the Treasury and Treasury and Associates.
“There are some pretty exciting opportunities in the market right now for financial products,” Mr Martin said.
“But the challenge is to get there without the massive upheaval that would occur.”
The National Sustainability Fund would be “the best vehicle for this” and could provide “financial product-based investment strategies” for businesses, he said.
A number of options have been proposed, including the “green finance” model, which involves providing the capital for a business’s sustainability through its own green infrastructure and products, rather than through government funding.
The fund could also invest in new companies through the “new funding model” of “sourcing”, in which a company invests in new ventures and projects, rather to “save” them from the “negative consequences of the carbon tax”.
“It could provide financial products to companies which will then be able to develop the products into sustainable businesses,” Mr Stewart said.
Another option is to use “sourced financing” to “create sustainable products”.
But the review said that was “not an option for most” of the financial products, and “sources of funding and capital are likely to be inadequate” for many of the products.
“This will be the biggest challenge,” Mr Coleman said.