All eyes on the budget tonight. But in the meantime whatever comes from it is unlikely to ease the nerves around the building industry’s spiralling materials prices and labour shortages. Last week, we heard that Adam Strong’s new company Viridi is stashing away timber, as prices skyrocket. Other sources said some Tasmanian builders were really struggling because of pressures on building supply materials, which is hard for everyone, but clearly worse for those who are island bound.
Not sure the state’s well-intentioned and highly commendable announcement a few weeks ago to build about 1000 new homes a year for the next 10 years at a cost of $1.5 billion won’t exacerbate the problem – as the Covid stimulus injection has done nationwide. According to reports, the housing splurge in Tassie will include 6500 new public housing units.
Also good to hear is the most sensible public policy announcement in a long, long time – the new South Australian government led by Peter Malinauskas has decided not to add to the building mania and has abandoned the planned construction of a stadium, instead diverting the funds to health care. That’s $662 million diverted from inflation. Good call, Mr SA Premier.
NSW, by contrast, has had Utopia foist upon it with delays – sorry, “deferment” – announced on major infrastructure projects, such as the Beaches Link Motorway and the extension of the Parramatta light rail. Infrastructure and Cities Minister Rob Stokes told the Nine newspapers money was not the problem. It was “volatility in cost of materials, equipment, and the shortages in skilled labour”, which means “it’s really not the right season to commence more mega projects immediately”. A few years ago the NSW government, in contrast to the SA government (and perhaps pre-empting it), decided to allow a stadium to be bulldozed for no good reason.
Meanwhile, in yet more evidence that NSW likes to bulldoze things for no particular reason, we’ve seen some serious dismantling of planning policy, which is supposed to protect “We the People”, under the subterfuge that this will somehow help developers to provide affordable homes. As if that’s their social calling (which it never is). In Victoria, the development industry landed a knockout blow on the government’s plans for a levy to assist those who can’t assist themselves.
We’ve yet to get to this story, but we will. All inside info and quiet asides, please send in a blank email with a question mark in the subject line and a PO address in the email body and we’ll mail you a burner phone.
Coastal properties at risk
Now what governments everywhere should be focused on is how to protect our homes and cities from climate stress.
In more bad news for coastal communities, new research says there’s a whopping $A25 billion of property facing coastal erosion and storm surges.
What’s interesting is that this comes from CoreLogic, the crowd that usually sticks to price data and related analytics. Its coastal Risk Scores for Financial Risk Assessment for lenders and insurers is designed to help the top end of town better understand what they’re dealing with. Many of us wish they wouldn’t want to know. But of course they do and they will increasingly delve very deeply and precisely into this.
The findings so far show more than 22,000 houses and apartments worth $A25 billion are exposed to high climate and erosion risk, and more than 900,000 homes are vulnerable.
In NSW, there are 603 individual houses and apartments at very high risk. In SA there are 428, in VIC 409 and in Tasmania 341.
It’s never too early for engineering
If you want to bolster the image of engineering for women it seems you need to start at preschool.
The report from Engineering Taskforce for Australia found that children’s understanding of engineering is developing around the same time as ideas and stereotypes about gender. Who’d a thunk it?
So early educators, teachers and school leaders are critical to supporting an interest in engineering.
“Women make up 47 per cent of all employed people in Australia, yet only 11.2 per cent of working engineers are women,” Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith, Australian Government Women in STEM ambassador said.
“By increasing the number of women in engineering, not only will we strengthen Australia’s economy, but we will also increase our capacity to address global challenges such as climate change and the transition to a carbon-neutral future.”
Vic Premier’s prize is open again
Entries are now open for the Premier’s Sustainability Awards 2022, featuring six categories aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).
“By recognising the innovative work being done in sustainability we aim to inspire others so that together we can progress faster towards our goal of a circular economy with net zero emissions,” Sustainability Victoria’s interim chief executive officer Matt Genever said.
“Entries have increased six-fold which demonstrates how sustainability is being embraced across the state.”
Entries close on 1 May 2022 at 5pm. Visit sustainabilityawards.vic.gov.au for further information.
The Supply Chain Sustainability School has welcomed three new fellows. Deicorp, Planet Ark and Wumara Group have joined the newly-registered charity to help achieve the vision of collaborative accessible education for a sustainable future.
Chief executive officer Hayley Jarick said that the pandemic supply chain crunch has led to increased emphasis on sustainability and resilience in business.
The school provides “a tangible sustainability commitment, access to an extensive network and collaboration opportunities,” Jarick said.
It also provides fellows with “free access to a credible and secure industry platform to merge their resources with other industry resources for colleagues, staff, customers, suppliers, shareholders and community groups.”
Rosamund Palmer and Marc Lane have joined WSP Australia.
Ms Palmer has started a role as an associate in strategy, community and place, after three years as a place manager at the City of Parramatta.
With over 15 years of experience in the built environment, Mr Lane is now working as a principal in the cities team. He previously worked in government as a principal design adviser of policy and urban design.
“The commencement of Marc and Roz represents a significant opportunity for us to further our city-shaping capabilities, laying the foundations for future infrastructure that will adapt overtime and in parallel with evolving communities,” Sara Stace, cities team director said.
Ken McBryde has been appointed design director of global architecture and design firm Gensler’s Sydney operation.
Philip Tapsall started as group lead of banking and financial services, general manager at Climate Valuation in Sydney. In his new role he is helping companies, governments and home owners understand and respond to the physical risks of climate change through market-leading data and analytics.
Jobs on Offer
USQ wants to learn how to improve sustainability.
The facilities management department at the University of Southern Queensland is looking to raise its grades in sustainability. It recently created a sustainability portfolio to help build an “environmentally responsible culture” within the university. To lead this new portfolio, USQ is currently on the lookout for a senior sustainability officer. Based in Toowoomba.
A UQ Spokesperson told The Fifth Estate: “This is the only role that is currently vacant in the sustainability portfolio and it is a brand new role for the organisation.
“USQ is not looking to add more new roles at this stage. There are quite a number of roles across the organisation that have responsibility for sustainability. We have a largely integrated model where environmental responsibility is everyone’s business.
“This role however is [being] established to help monitor the university’s sustainability performance and drive new initiatives.”
EY looks for finance experts who are on the money with climate change
EY is adding a number of managers and senior managers to its financial services climate change and sustainability team, based in Melbourne and Sydney. A key responsibility of the new roles is engaging with financial services clients in respect around their ESG priorities and activities.
As The Fifth Estate reported last week, EY is currently expanding its sustainability teams as part of a broader policy to reach net zero by 2025, with the consultancy mandating green buildings as part of its leases.
During February, EY Oceania undertook a restructure that saw it centralise its climate change practice in a new Net Zero Centre.
EY’s FSO climate change and sustainability services (“CCASS”) multidisciplinary teams help companies understand the risks and opportunities that arise from climate change.
The professional services and consultancy firm has been growing its sustainability practice since the acquisition of Karrikins Group in March 2019.
Lendlease wants you to build out its sustainability strategy
Lendlease is looking to hire a head of sustainability transformation, based out of its international headquarters in Sydney’s Barangaroo precinct.
The position reports directly to the group head of sustainability, and is responsible for identifying, reviewing and strategising new global initiatives for the construction giant.
The remit of the role includes leading the company’s ongoing decarbonisation pathway planning, based on its 1.5 degree-aligned Mission Zero targets. They will also be tasked with co-creating LendLease’s biodiversity strategy.
As The Fifth Estate recently reported, improving Lendlease’s sustainability performance is a key priority for the company’s chief executive officer for Australia, Dale Connor.
For example, at the Green building council of Australia’s Transform conference, Mr Connor shared how the construction giant had recently requested that all its contractors switch to a B5 biodiesel blend in their equipment at the company’s construction sites.
LiveNation offering a festival of opportunities
Here’s a position that is likely to be music to the ears of anyone who loves live music.
One of the world’s largest live concert companies, Live Nation Entertainment, is looking for a senior sustainability coordinator for festivals and venues.
The position is based on-site at the company’s St Vincent St offices, and will set the stage for the company to embed sustainability into its festivals, concerts and venue operations. The duties will include overseeing waste management, renewable energy, sustainable travel, food, water, circular economy, sustainable procurement, biodiversity and social initiatives.
Rose Petrass, Andrew Sadauskas, Tina Perinotto