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How will Australia's political leaders build sustainable cities?

The nation’s authority on green buildings and communities calls on all sides of federal politics to outline policies that will boost productivity in Australian cities and support liveability, community resilience and sustainability.

“Australia’s cities generate 80 per cent of the nation’s GDP and are home to three quarters of our citizens.  More productive, sustainable, liveable and resilient cities and communities will deliver a stronger economy and an enhanced lifestyle for all Australians,” says the Green Building Council of Australia’s (GBCA’s) Chief Operating Officer, Robin Mellon.

“To position our cities as true powerhouses of productivity, the incoming government must demonstrate visionary leadership.  This means ensuring all government-owned, operated and occupied buildings are high-quality and high-performance sustainable buildings.

“Modelling done by the GBCA has found that improving the energy efficiency of the federal government’s building portfolio could save $35 million a year in electricity costs alone. 

“The GBCA has also found that, based on the federal government’s current salary costs, a one per cent increase in productivity would equal almost $200 million of benefit a year.

“These improvements alone demonstrate the potential of the built environment to cut costs, increase productivity and elevate Australia’s international competitiveness.

“Of course, our cities are more than simply collections of buildings, and one of the GBCA’s three policy priorities is for governments to move beyond buildings to communities and cities. 

“The GBCA’s Green Star – Communities rating tool, developed in collaboration with industry and all levels of government, provides best practice benchmarks and metrics across a range of categories that can assist the incoming government to set targets and measure progress,” Mr Mellon says.

The GBCA has also been working with the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) and a coalition of industry organisations to develop a range of policy solutions which, if adopted by government, will help our cities and communities to become more liveable, productive, sustainable and resilient.

“Visionary leadership from the federal government requires a commitment to city policy and the appointment of a federal minister and department responsible for cities and urban development.  We also want to see all political parties outline how they intend to fund the infrastructure that cities and communities need to flourish.

“Australia needs a co-ordinated and strategic approach to planning, developing and managing our cities and communities if they are to be truly productive, resilient and sustainable places in the Asian Century.  How our next federal government rises to the challenge will depend on the policies and commitment of our leaders,” Mr Mellon concludes.

Read the GBCA's three-point plan for better buildings and communities, which outlines three priorities for all political parties in the lead-up to the federal election.