Time for the ‘green tape’ debate to mature: jobs and the environment are not implacable foes

Originally Published by The Conversation 25 August 2015, Allan Dale.

The highly charged debate over the proposed Carmichael coal mine, which culminated in Attorney-General George Brandis’s decision last week to propose winding back environmental legal protections, has exposed the simmering tension between “jobs” and “the environment” on Australia’s political landscape.

On one hand, those seeking to invest in the development of Australia’s natural resources and jobs growth have been making a clear case that Australia’s system of assessment and approval for major projects is riddled with procedural uncertainty.

Tinkering with the law is likely to entrench positions on both sides of the ‘green tape’ debate. AAP Image/Supplied

Tinkering with the law is likely to entrench positions on both sides of the ‘green tape’ debate. AAP Image/Supplied

On the other, environmental advocates and local communities feel that the current system does not adequately protect the environment – correctly pointing out Australia’s less than stellar record in preventing species from going extinct.

As a nation, however, we need to lift our game on both fronts.

Investors in the Australian economy and those seeking jobs and growth need certainty with regard to where and how they invest.

Equally, to avoid warfare (or “lawfare”) on a project-by-project basis, Australia’s environmental advocates and local communities need certainty too. They need clarity about where and how economic development can occur without harming our environmental heritage.

View the full article here.

The population dilemma facing Australia’s cities

Originally Published by Brisbane Times 24 August 2015, Tony Moore.

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Aspial Corporation’s planned 30 Albert Street residential tower is expected to be the tallest in Brisbane Photo: supplied

Community by community, Australia’s capitals are facing the decision of whether to grow up or grow out.

As populations increase, city planners are working to increase population density in selected areas, but often face accusations of making blind “taller is best” decisions.

The Gold Coast has announced its plan to concentrate urban development in the new Southport CBD.

On Monday Brisbane City Council announced it would debate a development of a 91-storey “vertical village” in the CBD – the third building that will bump its head on Brisbane’s nominal ceiling height of 27 metres.

A forum titled “How are cities responding to urbanism?” will be held at Brisbane’s Customs House on September 1, attracting two of the world’s most influential thinkers on tall buildings to Brisbane.

One of the international guest speakers is Ahmad Abderlrazaq, project director of the world’s tallest building – Burj Kalifa – in downtown Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

The second international speaker is Carol Willis, director of New York City’s Skyscraper Museum; who will talk about the world trend towards “super-slim” towers.

Brisbane’s Renaye Peters, the former chair of the Queens Wharf Precinct, property development manager at Brisbane Airport Corporation, a member of the Urban Land Development Authority and most recently a director at architect’s Conrad Gargett will moderate the morning sessions on Australian case studies.

“The symposium is about densification of our cities,” Ms Peters said.

“We believe it is time to have a mature discussion on the challenges of the growth of our urban areas,” she said.

“And how our buildings respond and how our built environment responds.”

“The discussion that we have formed with a range of other speakers is around ‘How do our cities respond’ in a way that makes them liveable and affordable,” she said.

“Some of the great cities around the world have great density, but they are still affordable and they are still liveable.”

Brisbane’s Lord Mayor Graham Quirk in March 2013 said Brisbane needed to review its “ceiling height” of 279 metres, calling for authorities to change the angle flights could arrive in and out of Brisbane’s airport.

Cr Quirk – trying to encourage greater density – argued raising the height limit from 279 metres to 300 metres allowed “six extra storeys and an extra $624 million in high rise investment in inner-city Brisbane.”

Brisbane has over the past five years begun this debate, with new urban areas at South Brisbane’s Kurilpa Point, the new Queens Wharf precinct being planned and the increasing density of the Brisbane CBD now more obvious.

Increasing city density will make a future underground rail system more viable and the range of debate on how to help fund this infrastructure.

View the full article here.

 

 

 

Dr Nigel Hardiman from the Top Education Institute to present on Long-Distance Walking Tracks and Tourism

Dr Nigel Hardiman, Academic Director, Business Programmes at Top Education Institute to present at the Australian Regional Development Conference being held next week (26– 27 August 2015) at the Commercial Club Albury.

The Conference is an initiative of the Association for Sustainability in Business Inc., a non-Government ‘not-for-profit’ organisation.

Dr Nigel Hardiman

Dr Nigel Hardiman

Speaker Introduction: Dr. Nigel Hardiman’s early career spanned 20 years in the private commercial sector, specialising in marketing, international business and strategic management within companies such as British Leyland, NEC, Alcatel and Telstra, throughout Europe, Asia and Australia. After completing his MAppSc and PhD in environmental science at the University of Western Sydney in 2002, he has taught widely at universities in the UK, Australia and Singapore. His research and consulting interests today focus on social, economic and biophysical impacts of ecologically sustainable tourism and the potential for private and/or public sector sustainable development initiatives to contribute to biodiversity conservation.

Presentation Title: Long-Distance Walking Tracks: Offering Regional Tourism in the Slow Lane
Co-Author: Shelley Burgin, Professor of Environmental Management at Bond University

Overview: Nature-based destination tourism has witnessed substantial growth in recent years, particularly in Regional Areas. This type of tourism is for people who do not want to merely passively view scenic landscape but to actively immerse themselves within it, for example by undertaking long-distance walks. Many tourism agencies and local governments have responded to such demand by developing, branding and promoting ‘walking products’; overseas examples include: the UK’s Pennine Way; the USA’s Appalachian Trail; Peru’s Inca Trail; New Zealand’s Tongariro Circuit and Milford Track; while in Australia enthusiasts can tackle the Overland Track and South-West Coast Track (Tasmania), the Larapinta Trail and Jatbula Trail (Northern Territory) and Thorsborne Trail (Queensland). Such products offer benefits to visitors in terms of healthy exercise undertaken in stunning scenery, along with enhanced awareness and appreciation of the natural environment. Local governments, commercial tourism operators, and land conservation agencies within whose purview such walks are located, derive economic benefits in terms of increased employment and/or income with minimal outlay in the development of the walking tracks. In this paper we (i) review trends in consumer behaviour driving demand for such products; (ii) consider potential regional economic benefits arising from them and (iii) describe a proposal for a new long distance walking track in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area in New South Wales.

About the Conference
The Australian Regional Development Conference is an initiative of the Association for Sustainability in Business Inc., a non-Government ‘not-for-profit’ organisation. The 2015 theme is “Redefining the Future of Regional Australia”, it will explore the issues and opportunities facing Regional Australia today and into the future.

Concurrent streams will focus on the following topics:

  • Sustainability / Renewables
  • Population Movements
  • Community Development
  • Government Policy
  • Innovation
  • Infrastructure
  • Cultural Tourism / Regional Tourism Development
  • Free Trade Agreements
  • Transport and Logistics
  • NBN / Broadband Communication
  • Banking / Finance

To view and/or download the Australian Regional Development Conference program please click here.

Lauren Clerey from SJB Urban to present on the Ballarat Station Precinct Master Plan

Lauren Clerey, Associate at SJB Urban to present at the Australian Regional Development Conference being held next week (26– 27 August 2015) at the Commercial Club Albury.

The Conference is an initiative of the Association for Sustainability in Business Inc., a non-Government ‘not-for-profit’ organisation.

Lauren Clerey

Lauren Clerey

Speaker Introduction: Lauren Clerey is an urban planner and designer whose breadth of experience ranges from master planning, design guidance, policy formation and public consultation. Originally from the UK, Lauren moved to Melbourne 7 years ago, and has enjoyed getting to understand the specific challenges facing the City, whilst tapering her experience into a passion for public space and interdisciplinary collaboration.

Presentation Topic: Ballarat Station Precinct Master Plan
Co-Author: Simon McPherson, Director of SJB Urban

Overview: SJB Urban completed a Master Plan for the redevelopment of the Ballarat Station Precinct, which comprises the heritage Ballarat Station and associated heritage Goods Shed and Engine Shed, the bus interchange, the taxi drop-off, car parking and cycle facilities, in addition to adjacent transport and non-transport areas.

About the Conference
The Australian Regional Development Conference is an initiative of the Association for Sustainability in Business Inc., a non-Government ‘not-for-profit’ organisation. The 2015 theme is “Redefining the Future of Regional Australia”, it will explore the issues and opportunities facing Regional Australia today and into the future.

Concurrent streams will focus on the following topics:

  • Sustainability / Renewables
  • Population Movements
  • Community Development
  • Government Policy
  • Innovation
  • Infrastructure
  • Cultural Tourism / Regional Tourism Development
  • Free Trade Agreements
  • Transport and Logistics
  • NBN / Broadband Communication
  • Banking / Finance

To view and/or download the Australian Regional Development Conference program please click here.

Karen Corr of Make a Change Australia to present at the Australian Regional Development Conference

Karen Corr, Director of Make a Change Australia to to present at the Australian Regional Development Conference being held next week (26– 27 August 2015) at the Commercial Club Albury.

The Conference is an initiative of the Association for Sustainability in Business Inc., a non-Government ‘not-for-profit’ organisation.

Karen Corr

Karen Corr

Speaker Introduction: Karen Corr is an engineer turned changemaker, social entrepreneur and facilitator. She is the founder and Director of Make a Change Australia, an organization set up to empower people to create change in their own communities.

Karen spent 10 years working as an Environmental Engineer providing technical services and water modeling, sustainability strategies and specialist consulting with a firm focus on the triple bottom line.

In 2009 Karen started her own business EcoSuccess providing sustainability & project management services for business & community. In addition to running her business, Karen invested substantially in local leadership positions including the Inaugeral President of the Bendigo Sustainability Group and Chair of the Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance.

Karen is a Fellow of the School for Social Entrepreneurs and was awarded the accolade of Social Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012. She was a 2014 Victorian State Finalist of the Rural Women’s Award.

It was during her time at the School of Social Entrepreneurs that the idea for Make a Change Australia was born. Since then she has been developing and implementing innovative programs to empower people to create change in their communities such as the Inspiration Café, Outside the Square, Expand Your Impact and Let’s Nut it Out initiatives. Whilst delivering the majority of her work in Central Victoria, a new partnership with Jump Leads NFP provides the possibility for further expansion across regional Australia.

Presentation Title: Just like LEGO! Building Bridges – Connecting Sectors. Community Engagement that works.
Co-Author: Sharon Seyd, Director at Jump Leads NFP

Overview: Local Councils are committed to progress, community development and public service. They are the responsible public authority, required to adopt transparent and sometimes cumbersome protocols. These systems that hold Councils to account are necessary, critical in fact – but they can sometimes stand in the way of the dynamic interaction with local communities.

To view and/or download the Australian Regional Development Conference program please click here.