Smart cities plan a step in the right direction

20 Jun 2016

20 JUN 2016

The Prime Minister’s commitment to fund smart, sustainable cities has been welcomed as a “step in the right direction” by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).

“The Coalition has announced three new cities policies that have the potential to reshape our nation,” says the GBCA’s Chief Executive Officer, Romilly Madew.

“We applaud the promise of $100 million for a Sustainable Cities Investment Fund, which would be delivered through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

“We are particularly pleased to see that funds would be invested in a range of projects, including green building, retrofit projects and precinct-scale energy generation systems. We have long called for extra investment and incentives to encourage building upgrades and retrofits – this is a good start,” Ms Madew says.

The $50 million Smart Cities and Suburbs Program promises to help local governments apply innovative technology-based approaches to improve the liveability of their cities and suburbs.

Ms Madew says local councils have been very effective in rolling out high-impact sustainability initiatives, and this funding will provide extra support.

“The attention to suburban areas is particularly important, and we look forward to learning more about how the projects will be assessed to ensure they meet best practice benchmarks for sustainability. Green Star – Communities is a precinct and neighbourhood-scale framework, and can measure outcomes from investments made through the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program,” Ms Madew explains.

The GBCA also welcomes the Coalition’s commitment to partner with state and local governments on a ‘City Deal’ for Western Sydney, with the construction of an airport creating 39,000 new jobs over the next two decades, as well as 178,000 new homes.

“The Prime Minister has said the Western Sydney Airport project will be largest planning, investment and delivery partnership in Australia's history. This makes it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get this right, because the consequences of getting it wrong will be felt for generations,” Ms Madew says.

“We already know how to build these large-scale communities the right way – and the sustainable way.”

The Green Star – Communities rating tool was developed by industry, academia and government, including every land development agency in the country, to set the standards for sustainable large-scale community developments. Brisbane Airport achieved the first Green Star – Communities rating. The Parramatta Square and Barangaroo South projects in Sydney, and Fishermans Bend in Melbourne, which will be home to 80,000 residents, are also using the rating tool.

“Transparency and accountability will be essential elements of these three announcements by the Coalition, and we look forward to seeing more detail to ensure the projects funded meet best practice benchmarks for sustainable cities,” Ms Madew concludes.

Download the GBCA’s five-point plan for sustainable buildings, communities and cities.

The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) was established in 2002 to develop a sustainable property industry in Australia and drive the adoption of green building practices through market-based solutions.

Media contact

Karen Jamal
Green Building Council of Australia
Phone: 0412 179 135