National urban policy needed, says GBCA

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A discussion paper foreshadowing a national urban policy has been welcomed by Australia's leading green building organisation.

The Australian Government has released the Our Cities - building a productive, sustainable and liveable future discussion paper to frame the policy approach to cities as the basis for a national urban policy to be released in 2011.

According to the Green Building Council of Australia's (GBCA's) Chief Executive, Romilly Madew, the discussion paper is an important step towards a national urban policy which delivers an integrated approach to planning, building, improving and measuring the performance of our cities.

"The discussion paper outlines the Australian Government's aspirations under the themes of productivity, sustainability and liveability, and recognises the importance of good planning and governance.

"These aspirations align well with the GBCA's five principals for sustainable communities - of liveability, economic prosperity, environmental responsibility, design excellence and governance - which were released earlier this year as part of the Green Star - Communities project.

The GBCA is currently leading the development of the Green Star - Communities rating tool that will assess communities against best practice sustainable benchmarks.

"Sustainability, in particular, must be a critical component of any future vision for Australia's cities, to ensure we tackle climate change, create healthy, productive and liveable cities, and protect our precious natural environment at the same time.

"Minimising carbon emissions and creating sustainable communities requires bold, fearless and visionary governance at all levels, with alignment in planning, policies and regulations. We welcome the Australian Government's leadership and look forward to working together to turn our current constraints into opportunities for our communities, our cities and our nation," Ms Madew concludes.