Urban congestion is a major focus area in the 2018 Federal Budget with substantial infrastructure investments aimed at addressing challenges posed by a growing population.

Calling for more future-focused infrastructure investments by the Federal Government to ensure Australian towns, cities and communities remained liveable for the next generation, Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) Head of Public Affairs Jonathan Cartledge said they welcomed the Turnbull Government’s support for key infrastructure projects around the country.

Cartledge says that the attention on urban congestion hotspots backed by $1 billion in funding is particularly welcome and should be part of a broader strategy to support better urban design outcomes. In addition to busting congestion and boosting productivity, these infrastructure projects must maximise value for money through increased liveability, amenity and resilience across communities, he added.

He also welcomed the new Major Projects Business Case Fund, which will fast-track future infrastructure investment.

Cartledge appreciated the Government’s focus on funding important areas of social sustainability with allocations including $3.6 million over four years from 2018‑19 to establish an Anti‑Slavery Unit, $8.3 million to expand and build Australia’s social impact investment capability as well as $4.8 million to bolster the ABS’ tracking of affordable housing data.

The Budget has also allocated $37.6 million in funding over five years from 2017‑18 for measures to improve energy affordability, reliability and sustainability including implementation of the Finkel review recommendations.

However, the Budget is largely silent on funding additional measures to help Australia meet its international emissions reduction targets and maintain its world-leading position on sustainability in the built environment.

Observing that there was still enormous scope for the Australian built environment to do more to reduce emissions and improve energy efficiency, he called upon the Government to lead by example through policy, regulation and investment to realise this potential.