In our communities, people are increasingly looking for sustainable options when it comes to their daily lives. All levels of government need to factor this desire into how they plan Australia’s cities, towns and suburbs, to ensure that the way we live is in line with community expectations.

As climate change, water scarcity, social inequity and environmental degradation become more apparent, the need for genuine action when it comes to sustainability also becomes increasingly clear.

In 2018, the HP Australia Environmental Sustainability Study found that over 90 per cent of Australian consumers and businesses are concerned about environmental sustainability. In addition, 71 per cent of consumer respondents stated that they were willing to pay a premium for environmentally sustainable products.

The time has now well and truly come where consumers are willing to back their sustainability concerns up with their wallets. In addition, the need for sustainability in infrastructure has also never been clearer.

Earlier in 2021, Infrastructure Australia released new guiding principles to promote sustainability across the infrastructure sector and ensure major investments deliver the best outcomes for the community.

Infrastructure Australia Chief Executive, Romilly Madew, said, “Ultimately, we want to ensure that community needs are properly understood and met through the efficient delivery of sustainable infrastructure.”

All sectors of our society – business and government – must respond to these expectations while creating shared value in the short, medium and long term.

Fortunately, local governments are no strangers to sustainability initiatives – in fact, this sector of government is often seen as leading the way when it comes to putting incentives in place that will genuinely bring about the kind of change we need to see to make our lifestyle in Australia more sustainable.

Putting sustainable government in the spotlight

Recognising the importance of the conversation around sustainability in local government, Council magazine is thrilled to be hosting the Sustainable Cities Virtual Conference, which will take place online on November 9 and 11.

This virtual event will consist of two free-to-attend Virtual Conferences, exploring the ways that Australia’s local government sector is bringing sustainable principles into the way their cities, towns and communities operate.

Over the course of the two conferences, we’ll first explore the concept of the sustainable city, looking at the different pillars of sustainability and how these are applied in a local government context.

We’ll also take a closer look at some of Australia’s most sustainable cities, diving deep into where and how they are excelling in achieving sustainability objectives.

Conference 1, Exploring Sustainable Cities, kicks off on November 9 at 1.00pm AEDT. This conference will look at sustainability in our cities and communities in a broader context.

We’ll be exploring what sustainability means to councils around Australia, and consider the benchmarks the local government sector uses to measure its sustainability performance.

Conference 2, Sustainable Cities in Action, will take place on November 11 from 1.00pm AEDT. In this conference we’ll drill down to case studies which will give us full visibility of some of Australia’s best performing cities when it comes to sustainability.

These case studies will cover a range of sustainability principles, including the built environment, energy, water, waste, consumption and much more. As consumers are becoming more insistent that the governments that represent them act responsibly toward both the community and the environment, it’s timely that the local government sector should come together to discuss the initiatives already underway, the things we are doing well, and the sustainability developments we can continue to improve.

Sustainable Cities will be a chance for local governments to gather, learn from experts, share their experiences, and highlight the things their local governments in particular are doing to deliver value for their communities.

Both Virtual Conferences are free to attend for councils, government departments and not-for-profits. To register for these events, simply head to www.sustainablecities.com.au/ register/

Get involved

Limited sponsorship opportunities are available for Sustainable Cities. If your business is involved with providing products or services to the sustainability industry at this critical time, this conference provides a great opportunity to connect with the industry.

If you’re interested in getting involved, head to www.sustainablecities.com.au/sponsors to download our prospectus.

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