The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has released a five-point election platform to help the next Federal Government shape the country’s cities and communities.

Healthy, Resilient and Positive Places for People includes a plan for carbon positive buildings, a vision for cities and communities, smarter infrastructure investment and a strategy for affordable, sustainable housing.

It also includes a call for strong government leadership by maintaining the commitment to the Paris Agreement, negotiating a national energy framework or elevating performance requirements in government tenancies.

The five initiatives are as follows:

Towards Carbon Positive buildings

  • Establish a plan for net zero emissions buildings by 2050 in line with the GBCA’s Carbon Positive Roadmap
  • Strengthen energy efficiency requirements for the National Construction Code in line with Built to Perform
  • Accelerate improvements to the mid-tier office buildings sector and overcome sector specific impediments

Strong government leadership

  • Remain committed to Australia’s participation in the Paris Agreement
  • Promote stability in Australia’s energy future through a national framework addressing energy costs, security and emissions reduction
  • Increase support for sustainable finance and funding
  • Lift performance requirements in government tenancies through the Energy Efficiency in Government Operations policy

A vision for cities and communities

  • Implement the recommendations made in the report Building Up and Moving Out
  • Resource the acceleration of the City Deals program by investing in better governance, benchmarking and measurement for priority infrastructure
  • Commit to a more integrated model of transport infrastructure planning and delivery

Smarter infrastructure investments

  • Develop a consistent framework of incentives to leverage the delivery of healthier, productive and sustainable social infrastructure

Affordable, sustainable housing

  • Adopt a national strategy to promote more affordable, sustainable housing
  • Encourage best practice design and construction in social housing by providing finance for market leading energy efficient projects through the CEFC

After a summer of record-breaking temperatures, the latest Ipsos Issues Monitor, Australia’s longest running survey of community concerns, has found nearly a quarter of voters put climate and environment among their top four concerns.

Climate change is emerging as a priority policy issue ahead of the federal election on 18 May.

In its policy paper, the GBCA argues that with a renewed focus on climate change, the built environment will play a central role in our nation’s future.

The council said that healthy, resilient and sustainable places are the heart of every strong society and every thriving city – and should therefore be top-of-mind for all politicians out on the hustings.

Improving the energy efficiency of Australia’s buildings is still among the most cost-effective ways to drive down emissions and enhance energy productivity.

The GBCA said that addressing the energy trilemma of cost, reliability and emissions reduction is impossible without an integrated, long-term plan for our national energy market.

According to ASBEC’s Low Carbon, High Performance report, government-occupied buildings alone represent 14 per cent of the built environment’s emissions reductions opportunities.

With the right policies, regulatory settings and incentives, the GBCA said Australia can achieve more than a quarter of the national emissions target while delivering almost $20 billion in savings.

Read GBCA’s federal election platform here.

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