Are we building a sustainable future for West Australia?

As West Australia head to the polls on Saturday 11 March, the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) urges people to consider the long-term plan for the state’s sustainable future as they cast their vote.

“While WA has some of the fastest growing areas in Australia, there is an urgent need for a clear long-term plan to manage this growth,” says the GBCA’s Senior Manager – Government & Industry, Jonathan Cartledge.

“Perth’s population is expected to double in size over the next 15 years, but without a fully-funded plan, people can expect the same traffic gridlock and diminishing quality of life already experienced by citizens in cities along the east coast.

“The cost of housing continues to be a challenge in WA, in spite of recent price falls.

“The latest Demographia Housing Affordability, which surveyed 406 global housing markets, found Perth has the dubious distinction of being in the top 20 least affordable major housing markets in the world. The average house in Perth now costs 6.1 times the average annual salary.

“WA is changing – and it is undeniably experiencing some growing pains. Perth’s CBD currently has its highest office vacancy rate since 1992, for example.

“We are working with all political parties to encourage policies that support long-term integrated planning and sustainable development across WA,” Cartledge says.

The GBCA has five policy priorities for government action. These are:

  • Achieving more productive, liveable, sustainable and healthy cities
  • Securing more resilient communities
  • Delivering a low-carbon, high-performing built environment
  • Raising minimum standards through the National Construction Code and
  • Facilitating sustainable utility infrastructure.

“The West Coast has nearly 140 Green Star-rated projects – including public buildings, shopping and distribution centres, apartments, offices, universities and large-scale communities.

“The Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority requires Green Star certification as a condition of development approval, and 5 Star Green Star minimums have been mandated for all buildings at the Elizabeth Quay development on the Perth waterfront. This will help future-proof development at Elizabeth Quay.

“West Australia’s Landcorp was a sponsor of the Green Star – Communities rating tool and is creating new communities and infill developments that will be future proofed for generations to come.

“But we need more than a building-by-building or project-by-project approach. We know WA is going to continue to grow. We need a comprehensive plan for this growth – one which protects the natural environment, which supports liveable communities and which drives economic growth.

“The question voters should ask themselves is clear: what are our political parties doing to plan for a sustainable future?” Mr Cartledge concludes.