It's the defining decade. Are you ready?

31 May 2023

For two decades the GBCA has called for government action to accelerate Australia’s shift to a sustainable, healthy, resilient and zero carbon built environment. Our call has finally been answered.

The Australian Government’s budget priorities couldn’t be clearer. As Treasurer Dr Jim Chalmers said in his budget speech, this is the “defining decade”. The decisions we make now will shape the liveability and prosperity of our nation for future generations.

When we count the billions of dollars now flowing towards projects that will transform our buildings, cities and communities, there are several stand outs.

The tally includes $1.3 billion to improve the energy performance of residential buildings, $4 billion for renewable energy projects that will support our shift to electrification, and $3.4 billion for sustainable social infrastructure attached to the Brisbane Olympic Games.

The Australian Government will fund projects and programs to drive a nationally consistent approach to sustainable urban development, backed by more than $680 million.

A Cities and Suburbs Unit – a long-awaited reboot of the Major Cities Unit – will be established and the GBCA has been asked to join an industry panel to inform the design of a new national urban policy framework. 

The $36 million allocated to upgrade NatHERS and the Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards program, a core recommendation of Every Building Counts, will move Australia towards a single national rating for home energy performance.

There’s money to establish a common language for sustainable finance and to bolster ASIC’s enforcement of action against greenwashing. There’s much more and our media release lays it all out in black, white and green.

After a decade of slim pickings for sustainability, we have federal government leadership, and our applause couldn’t be louder.

But just quietly, we’ve been working behind the scenes with our partners, like the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council, the Property Council and the Energy Efficiency Council, for a long time to make this happen.

The work behind the scenes never stops. This week we are launching a ‘how to guide’ for upfront carbon reductions, while we continue to mainstream sustainability with education and events, like Green Building Day which we hosted in Perth last week, Brisbane this week, and Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney still to come in June.

We continue to contribute to global gamechangers, like the WorldGBC's Circular Built Environment Playbook, launched this month.

And we continue to build the evidence base our industry needs to attract investors, tenants and buyers. (Check out our interview with Anthony de Francesco from Real Investment Analytics this month, who has found Green Star-rated office buildings deliver a 13.5% higher rate of annual return).

So, what’s next?

Like the Treasurer, the team at the GBCA is certain that this is the defining decade. So, we will engage in every conversation, support the ambitions of every member, take a seat at every table, and look for every opportunity to achieve our mission.

Because we know, in the defining decade, that every building counts.