Media Release: City of Melbourne vision unlocks sustainability across Australia

Monday 6 May 2019

One of Australia’s most innovative finance structures, established by the City of Melbourne to power investment in environmental outcomes by businesses, is being recapitalised and expanded across Australia.

The City of Melbourne has agreed to divest from the Sustainable Melbourne Fund to allow it to significantly scale up and expand its innovative finance model nationally through a partnership with Bank Australia.

The recapitalisation with Bank Australia provides the fund with access to a loan facility of up to $200 million and will enable the fund to continue its mission at a national scale. As a consequence, the business will be renamed the Sustainable Australia Fund.

City of Melbourne Deputy Lord Mayor Arron Wood said the Council established the fund 17 years ago to drive innovation and investment to reduce emissions and mitigate climate change impacts by the private sector.

“It’s truly a testament to the success of the original goals of Sustainable Melbourne Fund that it can now expand its reach beyond the borders of Victoria,” the Deputy Lord Mayor said.

“Our seed funding and support for the fund has unlocked more than $30 million in environmental infrastructure upgrades for Victorian businesses. This has enabled the abatement of more than 300,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

“From the first environmental upgrade agreement signed in 2011 at 460 Collins Street, solar PV projects in a number of municipalities, to a multi-million dollar water treatment plant in regional Victoria, it’s exciting to know we’ve delivered some great results in saving money, reducing environmental impact and driving new business.

“There is no doubt that this City of Melbourne market intervention has been hugely successful in transforming the built environment and incentivising building upgrades and renewable energy. It’s now time for the fund to move forward with its own growth strategy and the recapitalisation by Bank Australia will position the fund strongly for future success.”

Building on its original purpose, the significantly scaled Sustainable Australia Fund will now unlock investment in businesses across NSW and South Australia, as well as Victoria, for the dual purpose of providing savings through energy efficiencies, as well as achieving positive environmental outcomes.

“We could not be prouder of the success of Sustainable Melbourne Fund and the outcomes it has achieved in supporting Victorian businesses create savings and environmental upgrades through access to loans, which are repaid through council rates,” said the Deputy Lord Mayor.

“We wish Sustainable Australia Fund every success in unlocking environmental upgrade finance across NSW and South Australia. This finance mechanism is truly a win-win: both for businesses and the environment.”

CEO of Sustainable Australia Fund Scott Bocskay said: “The City of Melbourne has demonstrated tremendous leadership since 2002 in facilitating environmental infrastructure upgrades for Victorian businesses. It has supported industry and commercial properties, and more recently, agricultural businesses and farmers to upgrade their facilities through accessible loans.

“In 2010, the City of Melbourne, with the support of the Victorian State government, created Australia’s first Environmental Upgrade Agreement legislation, which has now been replicated across Australia. The positive impacts of this legislation have been significant. “These loans have enabled the abatement of more than 300,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions as well as substantial cost savings to Victorian businesses through upgraded infrastructure.”

Darren Dawson, Head of Impact Finance at Bank Australia, said: “We’re proud to support the launch of the Sustainable Australia Fund to enable it to expand its impact across Australia which aligns with our purpose of creating positive impact for people and the planet.

“Bank Australia is committed to using its customers’ money in ways that directly contribute to creating a more sustainable future for people and communities around Australia.”

“With a loan facility up to $200 million, the Sustainable Australia Fund will unlock environmental upgrades, facilitating significant increases in energy efficiency and enable communities to adopt more affordable renewable energy technology.”

About Sustainable Australia Fund:

Sustainable Australia Fund unlocks investment in businesses for the dual purpose of providing savings through cost efficiencies, as well as unlocking environmental outcomes. Sustainable Australia Fund is Australia’s leading financier of loans that provide up to 100% of the capital needed by businesses wanting to upgrade their energy infrastructure and unlock efficiencies and environmental outcomes. This finance is then repaid through Council rates over periods of up to 20 years. Originally established by the City of Melbourne Council in 2002, and known as the Sustainable Melbourne Fund, the Sustainable Australia Fund has been significantly recapitalised and scaled, supported by Bank Australia, to drive environmental upgrades across Victoria, NSW and South Australia.

About Bank Australia:

Bank Australia is Australia’s first customer owned bank. We exist to create mutual prosperity in the form of positive economic, social, environmental and cultural impact. We do this through responsible banking products, exceptional customer service, and investing in positive social and environmental change. Our responsible banking policy reflects how we embed our values into everything we do – from the loans we provide to the types of organisations we do business with. Bank Australia is the first bank in Australia to have its deposit and home lending products certified ‘responsible’ by the Responsible Investment Association of Australasia, and through our Impact Fund, we direct 4% of our after-tax profits to projects that help people and the planet.

Media Contacts:

City of Melbourne
Mandy Frostick
0419546245
Mandy.Frostick@melbourne.vic.gov.au Ranya Alkadamani


Sustainable Australia Fund
0434 664 589
Ranya@impactgroupinternational.com

Bank Australia
Cheyne McKee
03 9854 4899
Cheyne.McKee@bankaust.com.au