Policy Perspective - November 2018

05 Nov 2018

Keeping policy in perspective is all the more important as we navigate the whirlwind of politics over the last few months, and prepare for a cavalcade of electioneering across the states and federally.

Our congratulations to Prime Minister Scott Morrison as he takes on the leadership of a new cabinet.  Many of those issues we have prosecuted with the Government to date have landed in the portfolio previously held by Josh Frydenberg, so it is great that he takes this knowledge with him to Treasury.  The same is true as Minister Taylor picks up the Energy portfolio, where our work with the former Cities Minister presents a strong basis to engage on the opportunities for our built environment to deliver increasing energy efficiency and productivity with benefits across the economy, and of course help meet our Paris commitments.  We look forward to further highlighting these opportunities with the new Minister for the Environment, Melissa Price and Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population, Alan Tudge in the months ahead as we finalise our Federal Election platform for 2019.

Alongside elections in Victoria on the 24 November 2018 and New South Wales on the 23 March 2019 next year, the next six months will put the policies of all parties under the spotlight, and test their ability to lead with more ambitious policy that leverages the full potential of our built environment to deliver a more sustainable future. Our recent Boardroom lunch, co-hosted with EY in Melbourne with the Shadow Minister for the Building Industry Brad Battin provided great insights about the potential for this new portfolio to drive outcomes across our cities and communities. There was great willingness in the room to work collaboratively with government to support best practice, and for better regulation where necessary, to drive industry transformation. With Grand Final week now behind us the race is on to put these commitments into action with clear policies established in the lead-up to November.  

Building up an evidence base for better cities

"Cities are complex systems—‘systems of systems’ […] the creation of liveable, accessible and sustainable cities requires holistic vision and integrated development. To achieve successful development, we must envisage cities that perform for their citizens.’"

If you are interested in the future of our cities, take some time and open up Building Up and Moving Out: the report released by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities. A lengthy tome, it nonetheless warrants a closer read beyond the media releases as we consider the shape of national policy in advance of the next Federal Election.

Read more

Fishermans Bend embraces Green Star at scale

Earlier this month, the Victorian Government released the final Framework and planning controls for Australia’s largest urban renewal project at Fishermans Bend in Melbourne.

The controls express for the first time the Government’s commitment to a 6 star Green Star – Communities rating, and notably, scales up the ambition in the draft Framework to require all buildings over 5,000 square meters to be built to a 5 Star Green Star Design & As Built standard.

We have praised the Government’s attention to creating a sustainable community, while stressing the importance of independent certification to provide community with the confidence that its goals are met. Discussions have already started with the Fishermans Bend Taskforce and the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning about ways to ensure that industry is engaged, aware and empowered to deliver these sustainability outcomes.

Subnational leadership in action

Whilst the outlook on the NEG has again dampened hopes for certainty on energy and climate policy at the federal level, state and local governments around the country are continuing to demonstrate impressive leadership with ambitious policy and actions.

Last month, the City of Sydney was the first local government in Australia to sign up to the World Green Building Council’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment alongside a number of leading businesses. Launched at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, the Commitment challenges companies, cities, states and regions to reach net zero operating emissions in their portfolios by 2030, and to advocate for all buildings to be Net Zero in operation by 2050. The Commitment also requires these achievements be verified on an annual basis by an independent third-party system, such as Green Star. Among the Australian policy makers represented at the summit, was ACT Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, Shane Rattenbury.

In the same month we also saw the City of Melbourne release its draft Climate Change Mitigation Strategy to 2050, which includes recommendations from the GBCA’s Carbon Positive Roadmap to address emissions in buildings and precincts (see our submission here).

The City of Adelaide, through its CitySwitch and Carbon Neutral Adelaide programs is working with Adelaide commercial property sector to identify opportunities for the sector through changing sustainability requirements. Following an industry roundtable with the Lord Mayor earlier this year, the City recently hosted a briefing with key agencies and organisations, including the GBCA on the forward policy landscape for the property sector in line with Australia’s international commitments.

The GBCA has been elevating the importance of sustainability with the South Australian Government as it outlines its planning and design ambitions through a comprehensive reform of the state’s planning system. To date, the GBCA has provided input to the draft State Planning Policies, and will also commenting on the vision for SA’s natural resources and environment through the development of the Planning and Design Code.

The Northern Territory Government is also consulting on a Climate Change Strategy with the release of a discussion paper earlier this month, which is seeking advice on how the NT can manage its greenhouse gas emissions, adapt to climate change and identify opportunities for mitigation and adaptation.

Submissions close on 30 November.