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The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) has made four important recommendations in a submission made to Infrastructure Australia’s 15 Year Infrastructure Plan for Australia. AILA has also called upon the Federal Government to take a global leadership position on Green Infrastructure, and formally acknowledge Australia’s urban landscape as a key driver for improved health, environmental and social outcomes by 2055.

With close to 80 per cent of Australian adults predicted to be overweight or obese by 2025, AILA has urged the Government to consider the physical, social, economic and environmental impacts of well-designed public spaces and cities.

AILA CEO, Shahana McKenzie explains that the Government has the opportunity now to reprioritise outdoor spaces such as parks, streetscapes and public precincts to support healthier modes of transport, enabling the Australian population to be more active. By creating cities that encourage people to get outdoors and connect with their community, the Government can help reduce escalating healthcare costs.

AILA’s four strategic recommendations:

1. A National Green Infrastructure Strategy from the Federal Government to provide guidance on how infrastructure projects can be a catalyst for enhanced landscape outcomes through green infrastructure investment. The Strategy will include a policy statement to articulate the government’s position on infrastructure investment and investment action areas;

2. Minimum ‘SITES’ Ratings for Federally Funded Projects to encourage a global standard of integration of natural and physical infrastructure;

3. A National Green Infrastructure Training Program for built environment practitioners, including engineers, planners and senior level policy makers involved in the planning, design and development of infrastructure across a diversity of asset classes; and

4. A Project Briefing Guide for Integrating Landscape through Infrastructure Development to become the key national resource used to influence project briefing processes on federally funded projects.

According to McKenzie, AILA strongly believes increased investment by the nation in Green Infrastructure represents a minor cost that can bring significant medium and long term benefits to the liveability of Australia’s urban and rural areas.