3 March 2011 – A new report from Consult Australia has called for the integration of existing fragmented sustainability policies and programs.

The report, Seizing the Sustainability Advantage, would be used to drive practical action by governments to mitigate the risks of climate change and help ensure Australia’s ongoing economic competitiveness,  Consult Australia chief executive officer, Megan Motto said.

Developed in consultation with leading specialists from Australia’s top consulting firms in engineering, design, planning and project development for the built and natural environment, the report was released last week ahead of a similar call to action this week from the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council at Green Cities 2011.

The report’s main recommendations include the introduction of a national sustainability framework to create a cohesive agenda for sustainability operating across governments.

It also proposes a 12 month deadline for the introduction of a carbon price and recommends the establishment of a commission for a sustainable Australia as a vehicle for collaboration and alignment between government, industry and the community.

Other recommendations include a national sustainability framework to create a cohesive sustainability agenda across governments, and a nationally consistent adaptation plan to protect Australia against the threat of climate change and help manage other forecast demographic and environmental shifts.

Seizing the Sustainability Advantage pushes for the development and continued implementation of policies to support the efficient use of water, waste and energy resources. This would include a national white certificate scheme and long-term support for green depreciation of investments to improve the efficiency of existing building stock.

Ms Motto said the report takes a holistic approach to achieving sustainability, combining new and existing recommendations.

“The need for immediate action to improve the efficiency of our economy, mitigate climate change and adapt to demographic and environmental change is clear,” she said.

“Strong leadership is required to drive practical action by governments in the short, medium and long term to ensure Australia’s ongoing competitiveness.

“Consult Australia looks forward to ongoing discussions with government, industry and the broader community to discuss how the recommendations submitted in Seizing the Sustainability Advantage might be implemented and what further changes are required in the months and years ahead.”