Breaking down barriers through leadership

An absolute highlight of our activities this month was hosting a very special breakfast event to mark NAIDOC week.

“As pillars of our society, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have played – and continue to play - active and significant roles at the community, local, state and national levels,” observed NAIDOC Co-Chairs Dr Anne Martin & Mr Ben Mitchell in announcing this year’s powerful theme, Because of her, we can! “Sadly, Indigenous women’s role in our cultural, social and political survival has often been invisible, unsung or diminished.”

That’s why we were so delighted to have more than 100 friends and colleagues from across the industry join us for a passionate, lively and purposeful discussion about how we can break down barriers and better empower Indigenous women within the property industry and beyond.

This event provided an important opportunity to recognise some of the truly remarkable achievements by Indigenous women, accomplished so often in the face of barriers that for many would have seemed insurmountable.

It was an honour to hear first-hand from three highly influential Indigenous women who I’ve had the privilege of working closely with over the years.

Lendlease Executive Lead on Indigenous Engagement and Reconciliation, Cath Brokenborough, stressed the importance of communication in breaking down siloes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

“You’d be amazed at what can be achieved when you sit down and have a cup of tea and a chat with someone from the community on these issues,” she said, offering simple ways to unify us through our humanity on a path that often seems difficult to navigate.

Arrilla Founder and CEO, Shelley Reys inspired the room by outlining the business case for reconciliation, acknowledging many of our members who are walking the talk through their own Reconciliation Action Plans.

International Towers’ Head of Marketing & Stakeholder Engagement, Jodie Taylor, shared her story about how the women in her life have empowered her to thrive and succeed as a proud Indigenous woman.

Witnessing the compelling leadership on show at this breakfast, it dawned on me that this same spirit of achievement was mirrored in our surroundings and in the direction in which our industry is headed.

GBCA HQ is now based at Barangaroo, named after a Cammeraygal woman, someone who maintained her way of life with her people.

So as we sat on stage at Lendlease’s 6 Star Green Star rated headquarters at Barangaroo, also one of the first buildings in the world to achieve a WELL Platinum rating.

Australia has shown remarkable leadership in transforming our built environment into one that is creating a sustainable, resilient and inclusive future.

We need to continue on this journey of leadership and collaboration as we adapt to new market arrivals and innovations.

It’s with this attitude that I welcome the launch of WELL v2 by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI). I was fortunate to be at the launch in New York in June.

Following extensive industry consultation with property owners, developers and occupants from all around the globe, including Australia, the next iteration of WELL will aspire to advance healthy buildings for everyone.

After all, we spend around 90 per cent of our lives indoors. We deserve to live, work and play in environments that help us to thrive.

We have been partnered with IBWI since 2017 and applaud them on enhancing their commitment to health and wellbeing for building occupants.

It also offers us the opportunity to look at how we’re innovating on home soil.

I recently visited the US, Canada and New Zealand and was able to glean insights into the challenges and opportunities other markets are facing.

With the launch of our Carbon Positive Roadmap, at Green Building Day events across the country in May, my travels heightened my view that we are one of the leading countries and industries when it comes to carbon abatement strategies.  I strongly encourage you to engage with the discussion paper and offer your thoughts on how we can best achieve this ambitious target.

I also ask that you stay tuned for our thought leadership paper later in the year around sustainable homes, a new frontier for the GBCA.

During my visit to New Zealand, I was inspired by the NZGBC’s commitment to tackling some of the widespread issues in its local market around housing quality and affordability through HomeStar.

It’s time Australia turned its attention to building a sustainable residential market for all Australians and the GBCA looks forward to guiding this transformation.

I know we have the tools, the talent and the passion to make this happen. We only have to look at the finalists in the WorldGBC’s Asia Pacific Awards to see Australia’s leading commitment to green building. A special congratulations to Lendlease and Frasers Property Australia for securing spots across multiple categories.

In my eyes, each and every Green Star certification deserves to be celebrated. I’m excited to see the diverse range of projects trickling through the pipeline as we gallop towards 2,000 Green Star certifications.

This will be a significant milestone for us, which is why after seeking your feedback on how we can make your Green Star projects shine, I am thrilled to reveal our brand new plaques and marketing style guide.

Let’s wear our commitment to sustainability through Green Star with pride as we tackle the challenges and celebrate the triumphs that lie ahead.