A sustainable Australia, post-election
Many environmentally conscious Australians are wondering what will come next for the nation now that the coalition has been elected into government.
What will happen to electricity prices, renewable energy, efficiency schemes, tariffs and all those initiatives helping households to save money on power?
Luckily for any curious or concerned Australians, there are many groups getting in touch with the new government and making suggestions on how it can keep up the momentum on sustainability developments.
One such organisation, the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA), is eager to work with the new government on making sure that the country continues to work towards sustainable buildings and communities.
Some of the GBCA's own findings are particularly relevant to government. Its research found that over $35 million in electricity bills could be saved each year if the energy efficiency of federal government buildings was improved by only 10 per cent.
More sustainable buildings also increase productivity. Based on current salary costs, the government could save $200 million a year simply with a 1 per cent increase in productivity - something that would come from greener buildings.
Romilly Madew, chief executive of the GBCA, said that making sustainability-focused improvements to existing buildings can significantly reduce operational costs for businesses. This is an inexpensive way of curbing some of Australia's carbon emissions, which will help the nation to meet its emissions reductions targets.
"During the election campaign, we outlined the GBCA’s three-point plan to achieve greater efficiencies and productivity for our buildings, communities and cities: visionary government leadership; retrofitting and improving existing buildings; and upscaling solutions from building to communities," said Ms Madew.
"We encourage the incoming Abbott government to lead by example, by improving the performance of the federal government’s building stock, and achieving environmental ratings for all the buildings it owns, occupies and develops."
Another request from the GBCA is for the new government to commit to certain policies. These regard those that are sustainable and in particular are aimed to boost productivity and "support liveability, community resilience and sustainability".
The GBCA also urges the new government to appoint a minister for cities and urban development so that it is easier for new innovations to be implemented. This will help to keep the sustainability of cities a top priority for Australia.
Posted by Charlie Moore