This is what leadership looks like

27 Oct 2022

A message from the CEO Davina Rooney

A federal budget with energy-efficient homes at its heart, another year at the top of the GRESB league table, game-changing green loans, Asia Pacific awards finalists and a sustainability champion who steps down after a spectacular contribution… This is what leadership looks like.

With a carbon emissions reduction target set, the federal government is now accelerating action. On Tuesday we applauded the Albanese Government's Federal Budget, and especially the commitment to build one million energy-efficient homes by the end of the decade.

The Albanese Government's new "housing accord", a $350 million fund for affordable homes, tax breaks for electric vehicles, investment in community solar and battery storage, $20 billion to modernise the energy grid and $100 million to support skills in 'new energy' all send strong signals to the market. 

The message behind the Albanese Government’s promise to ‘restore Australia’s climate leadership’ with $42.6 million for the Climate Change Authority and $7.1 million to help the Australian Public Service eliminate emissions by 2030 is also crystal clear. We have a national government that is stepping up the race to net zero.

Australia's property industry has been running this race for many years, as our unbroken leadership with GRESB confirms. GRESB now covers more than 150,000 individual assets and AU$10.7 trillion of value. Oceania - Australia and New Zealand - maintained the highest regional average scores for both the development and building operations benchmarks and GBCA member companies once again dominate the GRESB leader boards. But with many other regions now hot on our heels, we must accelerate our efforts.

Congratulations also to the two Australian finalists in the biennial World Green Building Council Asia Pacific Green Building Awards. The University of Newcastle’s net zero Q Building, with its timber frame and 6 Star Green Star rating, is one of three finalists in the ‘institutional’ category for Leadership in Sustainability. BlueScope Steel – which has been recognised for looking towards a low-carbon, modern manufacturing future – is one of three finalists in the Business Leadership in Sustainability Award. These finalists are powerful examples of leadership that challenges the status quo with innovative thinking that delivers real impact.

Leadership within the financial sector is also a welcome sign because it’s money that ultimately moves the market. Earlier this month NAB announced a lower variable rate for home buyers who invest in homes (or renovations) that with a minimum NatHERS 7-star rating or a Green Star Homes rating. QBE followed up with a new product that will save customers with green mortgages through NAB or Bank Australia at least 5% on the cost of mortgage insurance. (Elham Monavari’s story on sustainable renovations in this issue of Green Building Voice is one not to miss).

A federal government determined to lead, financial markets on the move, and an innovative industry determined to do better on each and every project are all worthy of applause. But sometimes an individual contribution deserves a standing ovation.

On behalf of the past and present board, team and membership at the GBCA, I would like to acknowledge the exceptional contribution of the Property Council’s outgoing Chief Executive Ken Morrison. Ken was seconded from the Property Council in 2002 to nurture an embryonic idea that became the GBCA. Since then, he has been a committed champion of sustainability in the built environment, and of the GBCA. Ken steps down from the GBCA board in December. His contribution to our board and to partner organisations like ASBEC leave a shining legacy and a more sustainable built environment.

These examples of leadership matter because leadership has never been more important. After 20 years of working towards an orderly transition to net zero, Australia now faces a disorderly transition. The leaders who step up and stride out in front will make it easier for us to move further and faster together.