20 February 2013 — In the face of Western Australia’s 9 March state election, the Green Building Council of Australia has outlined a three-point green plan for the state’s buildings and communities to create “a clear long-term pathway to resilience and sustainability”.

The Council has called on the political leaders of Western Australia to strengthen their commitment to more efficient, productive, resource-friendly and sustainable buildings and communities.

Executive director Robin Mellon said “despite a slow start” the number of Green Star rated buildings in WA continued to grow, government and industry were working collaboratively, the GBCA’s state industry group was driving sustainability at the local level, and the government has assumed a leadership position on a number of key priorities.

The three-point plan includes the need to:

  • Provide visionary government leadership
  • Retrofit and improve existing buildings
  • Move beyond buildings to communities and cities

Under the first point, Mr Mellon said one of the most influential ways for the incoming government to demonstrate its green leadership was to commit to achieving Green Star ratings for buildings it owns, occupies or develops, whether offices, schools, hospitals or public buildings.

“The state government’s Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority has adopted a policy which requires Green Star certification as a condition of development approval, and 5 Star Green Star minimums have been mandated for all buildings at ‘lighthouse’ development projects such as the Elizabeth Quay development on the Perth waterfront,” he said.

“This commitment is forward-thinking within Australia, helping to future-proof development, and the next step is for the WA Government to mandate minimum Green Star standards for their own office accommodation, as the Victorian and Queensland governments have done. Moving to Green Star-rated buildings will support more productive, healthy and efficient work places for all WA Government employees.”

The second priority is to retrofit and improve existing buildings, he said.

“WA’s challenge is to look beyond the icons to the vast quantities of existing stock that is currently performing well below our current environmental benchmarks.”

“We call on all WA politicians to recognise the long-term economic, social and environmental value embedded in the built environment, and to outline the financial and non-financial incentives they intend to introduce to support more efficient, productive, resilient and sustainable buildings.”

The third priority is to “move beyond buildings to communities and cities” using the Green Star – Communities rating tool to provide best practice benchmarks for delivering adaptable, liveable, prosperous and sustainable cities, communities and precincts across Australia.

“WA’s built environment will exist long after the mining boom has peaked,” Mr Mellon said.

“The state’s future economic productivity, liveability and sustainability depend on a long-term commitment to policies and programs that drive sustainability in the built environment.”