Industry groups with interests in delivering sustainable buildings and infrastructure have responded to the formation of the new Queensland Labor government, with the ministry today (Monday) being sworn in.
The Green Building Council of Australia welcomed a commitment to green buildings; Engineers Australia warned that confidence in infrastructure delivery needed to be restored; and the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council praised a commitment to ensuring resilience is embedded in planning schemes.
The GBCA said it had received a commitment from the Palaszczuk government to “work towards achieving Green Star ratings for government-owned buildings” and audit government accommodation to determine “where the best value for money improvements can be made”.
The government also said it would work with industry to encourage the uptake of sustainability practices.
“We are delighted that the Palaszczuk Government is keen to review, refine and reinstate policies that support more sustainable building practices, and we will be pushing for the reintroduction of ‘green door’ policies and incentives,” GBCA chief executive Romilly Madew said.
“We believe policies and programs that support sustainability can strengthen Queensland’s property and construction industry and improve the efficiency, productivity and long-term sustainability of our buildings, communities and cities.”
ASBEC welcomed a commitment to ensuring planning schemes took into account natural disasters and climate change.
“We welcome the fact that the incoming government of Queensland takes the risks of natural disasters and climate change seriously,” ASBEC executive officer Suzanne Toumbourou said.
“An increase in general temperatures, due to climate change, has been predicted across Australia, with an ensuing upsurge in extreme weather events. Queensland has suffered many such events in recent years, including bushfires, drought, storms and floods.”
Ms Toumbourou said ASBEC was calling for a review and reform of existing regulation to remove barriers to climate change adaption, as well as an integration of climate change considerations into strategic planning and planning policy measures to provide certainty for industry and the community. It is promoting its Built Environment Adaptation Framework as a means to managing risk in the built environment.
Engineers Australia Queensland said new government was an opportunity to put infrastructure delivery and planning front and centre.
“Industry in Queensland needs certainty to ensure the community and our economy flourishes. The lack of a pipeline of committed work and longer term planning for infrastructure has undermined business confidence, leading to thousands of job losses in the engineering sector across Queensland,” Engineers Australia Queensland president Chris Warnock said.
“We need only look to the ongoing farce surrounding Victoria’s East West Link project to see the enormous amount of money, energy and opportunity that is wasted – not to mention the damage to business investment confidence – when we don’t have bipartisan commitment to infrastructure planning and delivery in place.”
Mr Warnock said the current political approach to planning major infrastructure projects was concerning, and the development of infrastructure in Queensland and the rest of Australia was fragmented, uncoordinated and lacked “an overarching cohesive visionary plan”.
Labor has committed to creating an independent statutory authority, Building Queensland, to provide expert advice on future infrastructure priorities.
“Engineers Australia supports the general principles contained within Queensland Labor’s Building Queensland policy,” Mr Warnock said.
“It is imperative the statutory authority outlined in that policy is able to provide transparent, independent expert advice on infrastructure priorities for the State, uninhibited by election cycles.”
New cabinet sworn in
The new cabinet has been sworn in, with a majority of women ministers – eight of 14 – a first in Australian politics.
Jackie Trad is deputy premier, minister for transport, minister for infrastructure, local government and planning, and minister for trade.
Leeanne Enoch will become minister for housing and public works, and minister for science and innovation.
Steven Miles will become minister for environment and heritage protection, and minister for national parks and the Great Barrier Reef.