An infrastructure-led recovery from the economic impact of COVID-19 should deliver productivity and liveability-boosting projects that drive sustainability across the built environment and its supply chain.
The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) CEO Davina Rooney has called on the Australian Government and state governments to maximise the potential of future rebuilding efforts, once the pandemic health impact has stabilised.
“Infrastructure development will play a key role to deliver the jobs and economic growth we will need to regenerate quickly once the health crisis passes,” she said.
“Governments and industry have the opportunity to build in sustainability across Australia when they roll out these projects.
“We know this would generate both immediate and long-lasting gains because green projects continue to produce benefits for generations.”
The GBCA has released the Building to Bounce Back policy statement, outlining the potential productivity gains and broader community benefits of a reform agenda that seized the potential from future construction and reconstruction.
It notes the 2019 summer bushfires as a powerful example of how growing risks from environmental changes are driving the need for infrastructure that is resilient to future shocks and extreme weather events.
Ms Rooney said industry and government must continue to work in partnership to harness the benefits of future infrastructure investment to deliver the broadest possible benefits both in terms of productivity and jobs, sustainability and liveability.
“Australia has significant experience developing world-leading examples of infrastructure and property that is sustainable, resilient, and delivers for broad benefits for end-users and the wider community,” she said.
“Governments should look to these examples of excellence, particularly in areas such as carbon mitigation and adaption, energy efficiency, sustainable design, and ‘green’ materials use. “These world-leading innovations can be adopted and rolled out at scale in any future infrastructure investment to support our economic recovery.”
Ms Rooney noted that good governance must maintain rigor in project selection to ensure productivity gains and deliver a return on investment. To achieve this, business cases must capture whole-of-life and broader benefits.
She said Australia had the skilled workforce and the sustainable-building experience to make the most of this opportunity.
“As we rebuild from these terrible crises, this is an opportunity to bounce back better and build a lasting benefit for all Australians,” she said. Building to Bounce Back policy statement, https://new.gbca.org.au/news/gbca-news/building-bounce-back/