With a new government, comes fresh opportunities

The GBCA has congratulated Prime Minister Morrison on his party’s victory in the recent federal election.

The Prime Minister and his new Cabinet have the best wishes of the GBCA and our members as they resume the task of addressing the issues facing our buildings, cities and communities.

With the election now behind us, the GBCA will continue to advocate for the realisation of the reforms presented in our five point platform, Healthy, Resilient and Positive Places for People. While we have seen progress in some areas, such as a national plan that sets a trajectory towards zero energy (and carbon) ready buildings, there is still much work to be done in terms of achieving our decarbonisation agenda in buildings, ensuring a sound energy transition, delivering more sustainable, affordable housing, maximising the value of our infrastructure and using government leadership to set an example of best practice.

Despite being a major energy consumer, Australia’s buildings present one of the biggest and most cost-effective opportunities to improve energy productivity and reduce emissions. We have urged the Government to approach this policy area with a reinvigorated and stronger focus post election, and are providing input on some of the initiatives that received funding under the Climate Solutions Package – the Trajectory for Low Energy Buildings project, improvements to the Commercial Building Disclosure Scheme and expansion of the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS). In many of these discussions, we continue to present the decarbonisation pathway set out in the GBCA’s Carbon Positive Roadmap as the guide to help Australia meet our international obligations and ease the transition to a zero carbon future.

A key challenge that the built environment faces is in ensuring the wellbeing of our communities through healthy, prosperous and functioning cities, be they in Australia’s urban areas, or regional ones. The Australian Government’s growing influence in cities policy provides an unprecedented opportunity to leverage better outcomes, and we are pleased to see this portfolio given due attention through the promotion of the Minister for Population, Cities and Infrastructure to Cabinet.

We were also pleased to note the Coalition’s commitment in the Population, Migration and Better Cities election plan to consider a new national population and planning framework. The GBCA has commended to Government the comprehensive set of findings from the bipartisan inquiry into the Australian Government’s role in the development of cities. Tabled by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities in the report Building Up and Moving Out, the recommendations address the need for a national plan of settlement patterns, sustainable urban form and the role of government of all levels, and provides a comprehensive, multi-partisan evidence base for a more sophisticated approach to urban policy nationally.

The GBCA continues our endorsement of City Deals as a way of bringing together the three levels of government to help deliver the best possible outcomes for our capitals and major regional cities. To further galvanise existing and future City Deals, we have recommended immediate and long-term increases in infrastructure funding to substantiate future City Deals, which should be supported by policies and governance instruments to encourage co-investment and longevity. Measurement and benchmarking are key enablers for City Deals to ensure that desired outcomes and targets are met across the projects, and we believe the National Performance Framework can be leveraged further in this context by using the indicators established through this framework to inform the design of City Deals and create a direct connection between the two initiatives. The use of best practice sustainability rating frameworks which provide assurance of outcomes related to liveability, economic prosperity, governance and innovation such as Green Star should also be explored.

These, and many other issues form the basis of the Green Building Council’s platform for reform across our built environment in the months ahead. We look forward to working with the Australian Government directly and through COAG on these matters, to ensure Australia’s buildings, cities and communities can reach their full potential.

To learn more about our policy priorities, contact Jonathan Cartledge, Head of Public Affairs and Membership or Sandra Qian, Senior Advisor – Policy and Government Relations.