Emissions reduction must focus federal election

27 Mar 2019

27 March 2018

The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) urges all political parties to show strong leadership and support a zero emissions buildings agenda, as well as smarter cities and affordable housing ahead of this year’s federal election.

Announcing its pre-election policy platform today, the GBCA has called for all parties to endorse measures to elevate sustainability in the delivery and design of buildings, communities and cities.

Head of Public Affairs and Membership, Jonathan Cartledge, said the policy platform included a national roadmap to decarbonise, as well reforms to seek more efficient and better value from community and infrastructure planning.

“A liveable and sustainable built environment is not only essential to Australia’s economic prosperity but also plays a major role in reducing our carbon emissions, raising productivity and improving the health and wellbeing of citizens,” he said.

“Improving the energy efficiency of our buildings is one of the most efficient, cost effective ways to reduce emissions at scale and help with meeting our international obligations.”

The GBCA is calling on parties to commit to recommendations across five priority policy areas:

  • Lifting the energy efficiency standards for buildings in the National Construction Code, creating policies for emissions reductions in the mid-tier office building sector, and leveraging the GBCA’s Carbon Positive Roadmap to establish a vision for a zero emissions built environment by 2050.
  • Providing industry with the policy and regulatory certainty to support cost-effective energy efficiency measures, design and construction practices.
  • Implementing evidence-based urban, land and infrastructure planning and maximise the potential of City Deals.
  • Incentivising healthier, more productive and sustainable social infrastructure.
  • Creating a national strategy for affordable and sustainable housing that uses best practice design and construction.

The GBCA advocates on behalf of more than 600 member organisations committed to the sustainable transformation of our cities and communities, from small businesses to ASX-listed companies, local governments, state departments and universities. 

Mr Cartledge said Australia was a showcase for world-leading examples of sustainable buildings and communities that provide extraordinary opportunities to scale-up with supporting policy.  

“We are delivering the world’s best right here in Australia, we just need to do more of it. With these policies we can realise the benefits of sustainability more widely.

“With ambition, leadership and commitment to the right policy settings, we can deliver healthier, more productive cities, and better value for money from our infrastructure investments. 

These policies are about securing multiplier benefits across our communities to protect and enhance our quality of life at a time of growth and change,“ he said.

“The research is clear that alongside productivity benefits, there are real hip pocket savings to be made from seeing more of our buildings and communities become more sustainable with a far lighter carbon footprint.”

Green Star-certified buildings produce 62 per cent lower greenhouse gas emissions, use only one third of the electricity requirements of an average equivalent building, and half the potable water of the minimum standard.

“These efficiencies benefit the staff and residents who work and live in those buildings but also the wider community through a better use of resources,” Mr Cartledge said.

“The public recognises the positive outcomes of green buildings, sustainable infrastructure and better planned communities. It’s time to get the policy settings right to encourage these benefits across the country.”

You can read or download a copy of the platform at https://gbca-web.s3.amazonaws.com/media/documents/gbca-federal-election-platform-2019-final.pdf