Councils push for sustainable development

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Councils from across Victoria have joined forces to push for more sustainable design within planning requirements.

In a show of unity across the local government sector, 24 councils have lodged a planning scheme amendment with the Victorian Government, seeking to introduce planning policy that elevates sustainability requirements for new buildings and encourages a move towards net zero carbon development.

Along with the amendment, the councils have written to the new Minister for Planning Lizzie Blandthorn asking her to support the amendment and to acknowledge that the current planning requirements do not reflect the urgency needed to tackle climate change.

The amendment seeks to build on the current Environmentally Sustainable Development (ESD) requirements for new developments and in doing so, better protect the natural environment, reduce resource and energy consumption, and support the health and wellbeing of future occupants.

Highlighting the importance of this work, 24 councils from across Victoria have collaborated. The councils are members of the Council Alliance for a Sustainable Built Environment (CASBE) and supported by the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV). The councils involved are: Ballarat, Banyule, Bayside, Boroondara, Darebin, Frankston, Glen Eira, Greater Bendigo, Greater Dandenong, Greater Geelong, Hobsons Bay, Knox, Maribyrnong, Mitchell, Moonee Valley, Moreland, Mornington Peninsula, Port Phillip, Stonnington, Strathbogie, Warrnambool, Whitehorse, Whittlesea, and Yarra.

The 24 councils represent approximately half the Victorian population and planning activity.

After the State Government’s recent implementation of Stage 1 of its ESD Roadmap (by creating new planning policy objectives), the councils view this amendment as the next step in improving ESD requirements with detailed, measurable targets that will deliver meaningful outcomes in practice.

MAV President Cr David Clark said the councils, working within the Council Alliance for a Sustainable Built Environment (CASBE), were leading the way on tackling climate change with these tangible actions.

“The MAV is thrilled to support CASBE councils from across the state on this incredibly important work. Local governments have long led work towards net zero carbon in new builds, but we need governments across all levels – state and federal – to work together if we want to create real change.

“Minister Blandthorn has an opportunity to set her agenda in the Planning portfolio and the MAV – alongside these councils – calls on her and her State colleagues to make ESD a key action item to help make net zero carbon in new builds a reality across Victoria,” Cr Clark said.

Under the proposed changes, new developments would:

  • produce net zero carbon emissions;
  • reduce household bills by making buildings more energy efficient;
  • provide a healthier and more comfortable environment for building occupants;
  • better manage water quality, use and collection;
  • protect and enhance greening and biodiversity; and,
  • be more resilient to changing climate impacts.