From advocacy to action

27 Nov 2020

A word from Davina Rooney, CEO, Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA)

This month we have seen our long-term advocacy efforts translate into large-scale government action.

Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has long championed energy efficiency upgrades as the cheapest form of emissions reduction that also enhances human health and creates jobs.

So, we were delighted that earlier this month the South Australian Government committed $60 million to improve the energy efficiency of government buildings.

The Victorian Government followed suit with an unprecedented $5.3 billion spend to increase and upgrade the state’s stock of social and affordable housing, while creating 10,000 new jobs. The Andrews Government also sets a record for housing energy efficiency investment with a $797 million package and higher energy efficiency standards for new builds.

The New South Wales Government, meanwhile, is adding almost $900 million to its social and affordable housing investment, taking total investment to $4.4 billion over four years while creating 3,000 jobs. An additional $157.8 million LED lighting upgrade in schools across the state will also boost energy efficiency.

These announcements follow our COVID-19 economic recovery plan, Building Efficiency for Jobs and Growth, launched in partnership with the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council, Energy Efficiency Council and Property Council of Australia earlier this year.

Together, we have built a strong evidence base that demonstrates how good energy and environment policy can also be great public, social and economic policy. Governments have been listening and has responded with true leadership.

At the federal level, independent member for Warringah Zali Steggall has introduced her much-anticipated climate change bill to the Australian parliament. The bill seeks a pathway to net zero by 2050, has the backing of big business and, importantly, harnesses the community’s passion for action on climate.

As some politicians step up, industry leadership remains front and centre. Australia and New Zealand took out the top spot in the GRESB global rankings for the tenth straight year. This year GRESB assessed a massive 96,000 assets across 64 countries worth AUD$6.6 trillion assets under management. A huge round of applause to GBCA members Lendlease, Dexus, Frasers Property Australia, Cbus Property, Charter Hall, Goodman Group, ISPT and Scentre Group for being recognised for their leadership.

While still on the subject of leadership, we are delighted to announce the appointment of two new directors to the GBCA Board: Nicole Lockwood and Josephine Sukkar. As Deputy Chair of Infrastructure Western Australia and a former board member of Infrastructure Australia, Nicole has a strong understanding of large-scale infrastructure planning and delivery, while Josephine, as Principal of Buildcorp, has deep experience in construction and governance.

I’d like to pay tribute to our outgoing board members Rod Fehring and John Flecker who have both made exceptional contributions to GBCA over many years, most recently during the development of Green Star Buildings and the strategy for Green Star Homes.

Finally, we are thrilled to confirm that Nigel Topping, the UK’s climate action champion, will be headlining TRANSFORM Online from 17-18 March 2021. Nigel has an exceptional CV, having been CEO of We Mean Business, a coalition of businesses working to accelerate the transition to a zero carbon economy, and the executive director of the Carbon Disclosure Project. The first 100 people to book their TRANSFORM Online ticket save $400, so don’t miss out on hearing Nigel’s insights into how we can accelerate our advocacy and action in 2021.