Policy Snapshot - April 2021

Central Place Sydney Dexus and Frasers Property Australia

09 Apr 2021

Let’s talk resources and circularity

Imagine a built environment that enables the regeneration of resources and natural systems, that avoids resource depletion and pollution through new business models and practices which also deliver socio-economic benefits. This is the vision developed by the WorldGBC, which describes the unique role of the built environment to move towards a thriving circular economy. Recently, Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) released a discussion paper on our role and that of our members in creating the conditions for a circular economy transformation in Australia. With stakeholders seeking guidance on what the circular economy means for our sector and the priority actions, this paper aims to start a conversation on how we can help industry to deliver a circular approach for the built environment.

The paper provides a primer on the circular economy, including why it matters for the built environment and a review of industry knowledge established through a series of interviews with our members. It also proposes a vision for GBCA by providing a series of statements and recommendations for reflection. 

Governments at all levels are expected to play a key role in pushing the agenda. The Federal Government’s announcement on Wednesday of new funding for recycling and clean energy projects, as part of the $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative is a welcome example. Besides outlining the current policy context in Australia, the paper also presents a variety of policy actions taken elsewhere in the world and proposes areas of focus for our advocacy efforts going forward.

Read the Circular Economy discussion paper Share your feedback

Important date for Green Star – Design and As Built

The release of Green Star Buildings last year marked the beginning of the transition from Green Star – Deign & As Built to the new tool.

As part of this transition, GBCA is currently accepting registrations under Green Star buildings or Green Star – Design and As Built. However, registrations for Green Star – Design & As Built v1.3 will not be accepted after 31 December 2021. 

Governments should take steps to update their policies to ensure that they reference the most up-to-date rating tool and relevant star rating as the scale has changed. Please contact our policy team should you need any assistance.

Learn more about the transition period Learn more about Future Focus

Planning for net zero energy buildings in Sydney

The City of Sydney has released a set of planning performance standards for net zero energy buildings. Covering new commercial developments, multi-unit residential buildings and major refurbishments, the standards stipulate a range of performance requirements for energy performance through energy efficiency, onsite renewables and offsite renewables recognised in the planning system. We commend the standards to local governments across Greater Sydney and are pleased to have collaborated with the City of Sydney, industry and other governments on the development of these standards with respect to Green Star.

Learn more about City of Sydney's plan

GBCA feedback on Victorian ESD Roadmap

We recently responded to the Victorian Government’s agenda to support ESD through the planning system, by embedding environmentally sustainable development outcomes for new commercial, residential, and industrial buildings in the state. In our response, we indicated our strong support for a state-wide approach to embedding ESD in planning policies. Noting the importance of providing greater certainty for industry, we indicated the importance of a consistent approach to achieving minimum state-wide objectives whilst still allowing councils to address local priorities and aspirations. We consider this important for councils that wish to ‘raise the bar’ higher, especially with respect to climate change adaptation and mitigation.  

View our submission

National Cities Performance Framework (NCPF) review

The NCPF provides the data needed to measure performance in Australia’s largest cities and support evaluation of City Deals. Its dashboard covers over 50 indicators for Australia’s 21 largest cities (with populations above 80 000) plus Western Sydney. To ensure the NCPF remains relevant to the evolving policy context, it is reviewed on a 3 yearly basis. 

We made a submission to the current review earlier this year, providing the following recommendations:

  • elevating ‘Sustainability’ to a full theme by separating it from ‘Liveability’ and enhancing its indicators to ensure it receives adequate consideration 
  • enhancing the link between the NCPF and City Deals by identifying indicators most relevant to City Deals for inclusion within the NCPF
  • investing in government and Industry uptake of the information portal to address the lack of awareness.
View our submission

IA releases Sustainability Principles

We welcome the release today of new sustainability principles by Infrastructure Australia (IA), which explain and guide IA’s approach to driving positive outcomes through infrastructure assessment and prioritisation. The principles, which address sustainability from a social, economic, environmental and governance perspective are also designed to help IA drive sustainability enhancing approaches to infrastructure assets through their policy reform agenda. 

Read the document