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    AILA concerned Government has missed green opportunity in new Infrastructure Plan

    Nathan Johnson

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    It seems that industry support for the new Australian Infrastructure Plan isn't as unanimous as first thought, late mail from the Australian Institute for Landscape Architects (AILA) yesterday expressed their concern with parts of the document.

    Minutes after Architecture & Design’s story Unanimous support comes in for Australian Infrastructure's 15-year Plan was published, the AILA sent out a media release that expressed its concerns about the lack of green infrastructure integration in the Plan.

    In the release, AILA CEO Shahana McKenzie observes that the Government has failed to act on its vision on taking a "strategic and ambitious approach to infrastructure". Having provided submissions to the Government to consult into the plan, she says that the AILA is concerned the Australian Government has fallen behind leadership of governments around the world who are 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.

    McKenzie said the infrastructure priority list contained within the plan was largely a list of projects that would help the country get from A to B. However, the plan fails to build on its stated ambition of “…providing broader social and environmental benefits and help create a more sustainable and fairer Australia”. Of the more than 90 infrastructure projects listed as priority, only one has a direct reference to active and healthy living with none of the projects directly referencing green infrastructure.

    The AILA expressed its concerns about the failure of the plan to embrace the value green infrastructure brought to sustainable cities with not a single reference to ‘green infrastructure’ in the entire document. According to the AILA, the plan also fails to leverage the greater social benefits by enhancing place making and embracing world class urban design.

    It’s a story of lost opportunity for the AILA who says the government has missed the chance to embrace green infrastructure as an accelerant for greater liveability, and a mechanism for promoting healthy cities and building resilient attributes in existing and proposed infrastructure projects.

    But it isn’t all doom and gloom, the AILA did make a ‘congratulations’ list for the Government which shows that Australia’s largest landscaping body is on board with some of the Plan’s goals and infrastructure prescriptions.

    Specifically, the AILA congratulates the government on:

    • Producing, in a short period of time, a comprehensive document seeking to position Australia to be productive national, and a regional and international competitor
    • Taking a proactive approach to acknowledging and strengthening the much needed infrastructure enhancements in remote and indigenous communities
    • Its openness and willingness to listen and learn, of the diversity if interests and demands that multiple stakeholders would have presented
    • The Plan’s positioning of Australia as a competitive contributor to the vibrant Asia-Pacific regional economy, ensuring that employment and social opportunities are maximised
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