AECOM’s Roger Swinbourne launches the guide at the Green Cities 2014 conference.

20 March 2014 — The Green Building Council of Australia and AECOM have released a guide for local governments on how to create sustainable community developments.

The guide was launched by AECOM associate director, design and planning Roger Swinbourne at GBCA’s Green Cities conference in Melbourne on Wednesday. It details how councils can implement the Green Star — Communities tool as well as an associated national framework, which was developed in consultation with industry and government.

The national framework consists of five principles that define a sustainable community:

  • Enhances liveability
  • Creates opportunities for economic prosperity
  • Fosters environmental responsibility
  • Embraces design excellence
  • Demonstrates visionary leadership and strong governance

The rating tool, released as a pilot in 2012, features a range of credits under the categories of governance, design, liveability, economic prosperity, environment and innovation, and currently has 15 projects registered. It aims to “encourage community development projects… that will enhance liveability, contribute to local economic prosperity and deliver sustainable outcomes”.

Launching the tool, Mr Swinbourne said that sustainable cities required effective collaboration between government, the private sector and the wider community.

“Local governments are on the frontline in delivering positive, sustainable change in our communities,” Mr Swinbourne said.

“This guide provides insights into how local government and industry can collaborate around Green Star – Communities to deliver more effective planning and sustainability outcomes.”

GBCA chief operating officer Robin Mellon said the guide would help local governments to achieve the best outcomes for current and future generations.

“How we plan, design and build our communities has an enormous impact on our economy, our wellbeing and our environment,” Mr Mellon said.

“Local governments across Australia will play an integral role in implementing and administering the planning controls, policies and programs that ensure we ‘get it right’ for existing and future communities.”

City of Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle endorsed the tool and guide, saying they gave councils “the knowledge, resources and benchmarks they need to make sustainability central to what they do”.

The guide can be downloaded here.