In the eye of the storm, great things are possible

Recovery investment in green infrastructure, education and training, R+D into clean tech and agriculture, and real investment into renewable energy would certainly herald a new policy position on action on climate change. It would assist the economic recovery, and demonstrate a willingness to make smart decisions in the eye of the storm. The Covid-19 emergency […]

Yes, Mr Cummings, energy efficiency is boring – if you have a one inch deep mind

The evil gnome who has taken up permanent residence on the shoulder of British prime minister Boris Johnson and whispers dark instructions into his ears, last week pronounced energy efficiency as “boring“. His name is demonic comings. I’m sorry, that was a mistaken auto-correction by my dictation software; it should have read Dominic Cummings, who […]

Exciting news for affordable housing in our most expensive cities

There’s good news for affordable accommodation in Sydney and Melbourne. In fact, it’s exciting if you consider the co-living, co-operative and shared equity housing that Landcom in Sydney has in mind, and the twin key apartments in Melbourne, thanks to a lovely collaboration. Landcom boss John Brogden flagged the possibilities for radically different affordable housing […]

On movements and shake ups

Could it be the instability caused by this strange time that’s seen so many changes of the guard at the top end of businesses and organisations and some surprising road-to-Damascus type conversions from the most unlikely places?

Environmental protections on shaky ground as review for EPBC Act looms

At a time when there’s mounting evidence that Australia’s environmental planning laws are “fundamentally broken”, this very same legislation is under threat from a federal government intent on fast-tracking projects as part of its pandemic recovery plan. “Green tape” has been in the firing line of the Covid recovery agenda at least since earlier this […]

Multi million dollar renewable energy deals for Australia’s biggest cities

Australia’s two largest cities and Adelaide City Council are stepping out in front with major renewable energy commitments starting this month. The City of Sydney announced that starting 1 July, all of the city’s operations — including streetlights, sportsfields, buildings and city hall — will be powered entirely by renewable energy. The city’s $60 million […]

Regional cities are doing well: but why?

Regional cities are outperforming urban capitals as national leaders in economic and inclusive growth according to a new study of 101 Australian towns. According to Polis Partners’ The City Report, key regional areas in New South Wales and Victoria such as Wollongong, Newcastle, Ballarat and Geelong, are surpassing their capital counterparts in investments, job growth […]

Job movements and our pick of the jobs

Job advertisements on SEEK are on the rise according to the company’s latest “employment snapshot” (a Covid-recovery fixture) but still at 68.3 per cent of pre-COVID levels. According to the report, job ad volumes have increased by 21.9 per cent in last two weeks compared to the previous two weeks. Interestingly, the two largest states […]

Six ways to pivot your career in a time of uncertainty

A few months ago, I made a temporary career pivot. Others may call it a major career change, but I respectfully disagree. My reasoning lies in the definition between the two. To pivot means to turn or rotate. A change, on the other hand, means to be different, to transform. In other words, to go […]

How hard will it be to find new jobs for coal miners?

Last week, The Australia Institute released a report that investigated the challenges and opportunities of getting out of coal. This included casting a critical eye on the apparent abundance of employment opportunities afforded by the coal mining sector – a factor that’s frequently cited as a reason to keep the industry afloat.

Here come the robots, but are we ready?

Building technology has come a long way. There are now robots that can put a wall panel together – put the plasterboard in place, nail it down and cut off protruding bits – based on a digital plan of the panel, all without human intervention.

On why we need to protect our sustainability stars

News from the front desk, No 486: This week the Green Building Council of Australia announced a bunch of green building champions that it honoured in its first such awards. Among them are many faces well known to The Fifth Estate. People who have kept up the good fight through thick and thin. Here’s the […]

Calls for an elected Lord Mayor of Parramatta

This week, two business groups made the case for a democratially-elected Lord Mayor of Parramatta – an equivalent to City of Sydney’s popular Clover Moore – to lead the critical region through a period of rapid growth and transformation.

Let’s not forget the drought – time to start planning for the next one

We need to start seriously considering our long-term water security options before the next drought hits and urban sewers reach capacity. If we rewind to just a few months ago – before Covid, sporadic flooding, and the worst of the horror bushfire season – we were seriously worried about running out of water. With Australia’s […]

Here’s how a prefab Passive House outperforms even eco houses in the UK

A new factory-fabricated home has scored twice the Passivhaus Standard on airtightness and achieved an EU Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) score of 103 out of 100, using the UK Government’s Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) for energy efficiency. Developer Etopia uses a special building method coupled with green technology that results in homes that can produce […]

Why tomorrow’s data could end up like today’s plastic

The intensity of the internet’s energy is about to escalate so much that the current infrastructure will come under pressure and lead to “severe economic and environmental concerns”.

What we need is a more powerful house

The idea of a new cultural facility for Parramatta is good. Stocking that facility with the Powerhouse collection just looks dumb. News of the post-pandemic economic fallout is steadily replacing the news of the pandemic itself.  Here are a few snippets. The National Library announced it will largely cease collecting Asian publications. The story was […]

Jobs market heating up & our pick of the jobs

The job market is heating back up, with new job ads posted on SEEK up 60.6 per cent in the last fortnight. Searches for businesses for sale are also at their highest ever “Trades & services” is among the categories showing the most growth, which is likely to continue with stimulus money flowing into the […]

Green gigs and government tenders: Urban interventions in Canterbury-Bankstown and more

Our regular round up of business opportunities. This tender is closing soon 19 June, but it’s interesting. It’s for a suite of “urban interventions” in key centres of the Canterbury-Bankstown local government area. The objectives are to bring to the area “short-term pilot projects (installations or events) that enliven the public realm.” These, says the […]

On why we should be wary of new safety-enhancing monitoring technology

News from the front desk No 485: Purpose-built employee monitoring software has also been “flying off the shelves” since the pandemic started. What’s going on? It’s totally predictable but concerns are mounting fast that the coronavirus pandemic is ushering in a new wave of dubious monitoring and surveillance technology that will be tough to eradicate […]

Universities need to take building education more seriously if we want to reform the industry

With the successful passing of the Design and Building Practitioners Bill 2019 and the Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Bill 2020, attention now moves to the implementation of the NSW building reforms.  These bills are part of a wider industry reform strategy called Construct NSW which is the NSW government’s response to the […]

Investing in needs-based housing? How about getting the sustainability right?

The Victorian government has announced one of the largest investment in social and needs-based housing since the Global Financial Crisis. It’s important that providers integrate sustainability benchmarking across their operations and asset portfolios to align their organisations with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This will place providers in the best position to ensure upgrades […]

Why livestock investments are starting to look shaky

Goldman Sachs is warning investors away from livestock, with going as far as to label livestock as one of the most precarious investments alongside oil. Why? Global investor network FAIRR a London based outfit that raises awareness of the material ESG risks and opportunities caused by intensive livestock production has released a new report that […]

A conversation with California Climate Hawk RL Miller

If you want to know what’s happening in the US around climate and you need reassurance that there’s a vigorous political struggle to support action, this interview with RL Miller (her preferred moniker) is for you. RL Miller has been called many things in her crusade against climate change. Incendiary. Divisive. A political terrorist, to […]