23 April 2010: The Green Building Council of Australia will focus on local councils for its next major thrust to  accelerate the green building agenda.

Its newly formed Local Government Task Group will be chaired by  Wayne Wescott, a sustainability consultant and former chief executive officer of the International Council for Local Environmental
Initiatives Oceania Secretariat or ICLEI.

Chief executive officer of the GBCA, Romilly Madew, said most major city councils were already “fully engaged members” of the the GBCA.

“Local governments have been promoting and implementing green building programs for a number of years – from developing iconicbuildings such as the City of Melbourne’s CH2 through to mandatory local laws to ensure minimum energy efficiency standards,” Ms Madew said.

“The GBCA’s new Local Government Task Group will further this trend by encouraging the uptake of voluntary rating tools, offering practical advice and assistance and educating councils on best practice from similar organisations around the world.”

Mr Westcott said: “In the wake of the Copenhagen climate change negotiations, people are looking
to make practical changes and green building is one of the most cost effective and efficient ways tocut carbon emissions and improve sustainability outcomes.

“The Task Group will integrate local governments’ efforts with other sectors – from developers to householders – to demonstrate that significant small-scale action across our nation can be aggregated towards major change.

“We aim to see more local governments take on the role of ‘green change agents’ and lead the way in the adoption of sustainable building and eco-friendly business practices.

“By working at the grass-roots level, we hope that councils around Australia will influence the future direction of green building in Australia.”

tperinotto@thefifthestate.com.au