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The future of our cities

Cities are the engine rooms of Australia’s productivity, and home to around 80 per cent of its citizens.  How we plan, design, build and manage our cities will shape the future prosperity, opportunities, health and wellbeing of future generations of Australians.  Many of these issues will be explored at Green Cities 2012 from 5-7 March in Sydney.

In the last two years, the Australian Government has released a raft of policy measures aimed at improving the productivity, sustainability and livability of our cities - from the establishment of the Major Cities Unit and funding for urban design projects, through to the development of the National Urban Policy which articulates a vision for the future of Australia’s cities.

Just recently, the federal government announced a new Urban Policy Forum, which will ensure the planning, design and management of Australia’s cities remains high on the national agenda.  The Urban Policy Forum was announced by the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Anthony Albanese, during an Urban Policy Protocol Workshop, co-hosted by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) and the Major Cities Unit.

 Launching the forum, Minister Albanese said that it aims to promote dialogue between the sector, the community and the government, and will be an ‘ideas generator.’ 

I am delighted to be joining experts from across all levels of government as well as industry and academia to sit on the panel, and advise the Australian Government on the implementation of the National Urban Policy.  

At the same time, the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (SEWPaC) is undertaking a ‘Measuring Sustainability’ program which aims to develop a set of sustainability indicators to measure Australia's progress towards more sustainable communities. It is hoped this set of sustainability indicators can be used to better inform decision makers. SEWPaC has been working with industry stakeholders, including the GBCA, on identifying these indicators.

GBCA is a vocal champion of the Australian Government’s Urban Design Protocol, which is founded on five pillars: productivity, sustainability, liveability, leadership and design excellence.  In particular, we have referenced the Protocol in our Green Star - Communities rating tool. 

As part of Green Cities 2012, we will host a ‘sneak peak’ into the Green Star – Communities rating tool, and will also conduct the first workshop in Australia which examines how the Urban Design Protocol and Green Star – Communities can support better planning and design of our cities. We hope to see you there.

Romilly Madew
Chief Executive
Green Building Council of Australia