The recently released 15-year plan by Infrastructure Australia has failed to adequately address green infrastructure integration, the Australian Institute for Landscape Architects has said.
AILA chief executive Shahana McKenzie said the plan failed to act on its vision of taking a “strategic and ambitious approach to infrastructure”, and failed to “embrace the value green infrastructure brings to more sustainable, healthy and resilience cities”.
Ms McKenzie said AILA supported the plan’s statement that “infrastructure can do more than just get us from A to B”, but said the infrastructure priority list accompanying the plan was “largely a list of projects that help get us from A to B”.
“The plan fails to build on the its stated ambition of ‘…providing broader social and environmental benefits and help create a more sustainable and fairer Australia,’” she said. “Of the more than 90 infrastructure projects listed as a priority, only one has a direct reference to active and healthy living. None of the projects directly reference green infrastructure.
“Furthermore, with more than 70 recommendations within the plan, only a small handful truly provide substantive guidance, with most providing little substance or meaningful guidance. Recommendations like ‘Governments should aim to grow the population of our smaller capital cities’ verge on being meaningless. Clear actions, responsibilities and funding are lacking from the plan and therefore places this good work at risk of ‘bookshelves’.”
AILA said the plan also showed “negligence” for its lack of acknowledgement of walking and cycling as a mode of mobility.
Ms McKenzie warned that the government had fallen behind its global peers, who were embracing green infrastructure “as a formal asset class, to be valued and recognised for its ability to strengthen the sustainability and resilience of urban and regional communities”.
“We hold hope that when the plan next gets updated in five years’ time that the government has been able to harness that ‘strategic and ambitious approach to infrastructure’ and acknowledge the value of green infrastructures contribution to a healthy, liveable and resilience nation.”