The Victorian Government has lifted the bar on both the environmental and social sustainability credentials of Australia’s largest urban renewal project with the release of the final Fishermans Bend Framework recently, in an announcement welcomed by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).
The final Framework builds on the commitments made in the initial draft requiring that all developments in the new precinct achieve a minimum 4 Star Green Star rating, with buildings over 5000 square metres to be built to a 5 Star Green Star standard.
The Government has also increased the inclusivity of Fishermans Bend with the introduction of a social housing uplift scheme.
GBCA head of Public Affairs and Membership Jonathan Cartledge congratulated the Andrews Government on its close engagement with industry and the community throughout the consultation period.
“When governments really take the time to listen and consult extensively and in good faith, the outcomes for the community are invariably improved, as is the case with this city-changing precinct,” Cartledge says.
“We are delighted the Government has embraced the Green Star – Communities model and chosen to require even more environmental rigour at Fishermans Bend with the increase in requirements to a 5 Star Green Star rating for large-scale buildings, which will boost the standard from best practice to Australian excellence.”
Though pleased with the decision to lift the site’s environmental sustainability credentials to meet 5 Star Green Star or equivalent standards, Cartledge says that independent certification was vital.
“Benchmarking Fishermans Bend developments against the GBCA’s 4 and 5 Star Green Star rating requirements is important but only certification will provide community confidence that these goals are being met.
“A key benefit of certification is that it provides independence, rigour and transparency to the assessment process.
“Independent third-party certification from the GBCA provides assurance and integrity, unlike unverifiable claims of ‘equivalency’. Such outcomes should not be permitted as they risk undermining in the implementation phase for the bold vision the Government has set out for Fishermans Bend.
“Green Star is Australia’s only holistic rating system for the sustainable design, construction and performance of buildings, fitouts and communities.
“We look forward to continuing our engagement on this vital project through our ongoing collaboration with the Fishermans Bend Taskforce to support the Government’s work and inform how Green Star may be taken up at a building level within the precinct utilising the planning frameworks and other initiatives,” Cartledge says.
“A holistic approach to sustainability is multifaceted, and it is encouraging to see the government also promoting social and economic sustainability outcomes through commitments to social and affordable housing and a focus on job creation.
“These planning controls enshrine environmental and social sustainability at the heart of Fishermans Bend as a site that will define Melbourne’s future, embracing its eight sustainability goals.
“Moving forward, certainty in governance and leadership will be essential in delivering Fishermans Bend and maintaining the renewed community confidence that has been established. This will require transparency and careful planning.
“The GBCA believes government must lead by example in requiring the highest possible standards for any new developments on government-owned land in Fishermans Bend.
“This is a rare opportunity for government to lead in development best practice and must be embraced.
“We applaud the hard work the Victorian Government has already put in and look forward working with them as Fishermans Bend comes to fruition, Cartledge says.
Image courtesy of Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Victoria.