The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has welcomed the Coalition’s announcement of a Smart Cities plan as well as funds to support the new cities policies. GBCA has described the Prime Minister’s commitment to fund smart, sustainable cities as a ‘step in the right direction’.

GBCA’s Chief Executive Officer, Romilly Madew commented that the three new cities policies announced by the Coalition have the potential to reshape the country. The Government has also promised $100 million for a Sustainable Cities Investment Fund, which would be delivered through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

According to Madew, the funds would be invested in a range of projects, including green building, retrofits and precinct-scale energy generation systems. Having long called for extra investment and incentives to encourage building upgrades and retrofits, GBCA believes the latest initiatives signal a good start.

The $50 million Smart Cities and Suburbs Program promises to help local governments apply innovative technology based approaches to improve the liveability of their cities and suburbs.

Madew says local councils have been very effective in rolling out high-impact sustainability initiatives, and this funding will provide extra support. She added that GBCA looked forward to learning more about how the projects will be assessed to ensure they meet best practice benchmarks for sustainability. Madew explained that Green Star – Communities was a precinct and neighbourhood-scale framework, and can measure outcomes from investments made through the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program.

The GBCA also welcomes the Coalition’s commitment to partner with state and local governments on a ‘City Deal’ for Western Sydney, with the construction of an airport creating 39,000 new jobs over the next two decades, as well as 178,000 new homes.

The Green Star – Communities rating tool was developed by industry, academia and government, including every land development agency in the country, to set the standards for sustainable large-scale community developments. While Brisbane Airport achieved the first Green Star – Communities rating, the Parramatta Square and Barangaroo South projects in Sydney, and Fishermans Bend in Melbourne are also using the rating tool.