Conserving land, water and energy benefits all of us.
When a farmer or city developer conserve land, water or energy on their land they provide benefits which go beyond the boundary of the place. Some such projects should be fast tracked and qualify for rate rebates.
If, say, a farmer fences off creek or river frontage to protect the water quality and life there that both reduces the amount of land available to farm and earn an income from and improves the public resource of the waterway.
In the city, if a property developer keeps all rainwater on site to meet the needs of the people there that prevents road runoff polluting harbours, creeks and increases the amount of water left in the dams that supply town water.
Most councils and government businesses (think of Sydney and Hunter Water Corporations) impose rates and development levies for infrastructure, including stormwater works they carry out.
But when a farmer or developer does work to reduce or avoid environmental impacts beyond the site, and, in turn, the money or works needed by councils or government businesses there is no exemption provided from the rate or development levy.
Thus, there is a fundamental financial and regulatory disincentive for farmers and city folk to conserve land, energy and water.
It's time for change.
I've written about the how and why of fast track approvals and rate rebates and provided examples of existing rebates and fast track approvals here.