Wrecking Balls are a-swinging: rethinking the demolition mindset

And thus, the illustrious Dominic Perrottet came swinging in on a wrecking ball, invoking perhaps Miley Cyrus and her infamous 2013 music video, out to erase a hit list of buildings which he has declared blemishes blighting the beauty of Sydney – from the MLC Centre to the Cahill Expressway, from Sydney Aquarium to every Brutalist Building, ever.

On fifty shades of property tax

News from the front desk: The NSW government wants to do with land tax and stamp duty what it’s signalled it’s doing with energy and climate policy: something radical, innovative and what advocates have urged for decades.

Time for a new broom, new pricing and law-abiding tribunal at Sydney Water

“The lawyer I respect most, a blind man on a galloping horse, can read every IPART report and conclude none of the tribunal members have read these sections or, if they have, have chosen to ignore them”. Pricing of NSW government water, transport and energy monopolies has failed. “Once we allow ourselves to be disobedient […]

Productivity Commission to hold inquiry into the right to repair and planned obsolescence, while the Feds get jittery

COMMENT: Now we tend to not like the Productivity Commission much, mainly it’s our unforgiving nature for when it said we should deregulate zoning as a way of making housing more affordable. It certainly would make houses more affordable, because no-one would want to live there. But that’s another story entirely to what hit us […]

On the real issues in the Queensland election

On the face of it the handling of the pandemic and who might be best to lead the Sunshine State out of the doom and gloom it’s caused is dominating the mainstream coverage of the Queensland election this weekend. But on closer inspection, environmental issues are front and centre in some of the seats that […]

On the green avalanche continues

News from the front desk: We called someone in NZ this week to canvass a new project on embodied carbon we’re running. Even though we’ve barely started to digest the massive 127 ebook we just published on net zero and operational energy.

AI is looming – do we travel through time or end in an algorithm?

Could an algorithm write any number of bestsellers or compose a symphony to match Bach or Beethoven or stretch our imaginations and allow us to travel through time like Marty McFly? Ultimately. Probably. Yes! Biomedical engineer and inventor, Jordan Nguyen, says that technology is evolving faster than at any time before, but possibly at the […]

On the rising tide of good ideas heading for the cities

If you caught the ABC’s Four Corners episode on Monday night about the dire state of our economy, you’d have seen the eerie shots of near-empty streets that were once the busiest in the country. It’s no surprise that Melbourne’s CBD is still deserted but new data from the Property Council of Australia shows that […]

Five ways to achieve a post-pandemic governance epiphany

Metaphorically, the pandemic has cast a very oblique light across our apparently flat policy terrain. Many seemingly solid and settled policy positions are now revealed as wafer-thin ideologies. Deep unbridgeable chasms between implacably opposed world views now separate what used to seem like mild differences of opinion. Some even consider that the pandemic has triggered […]

There has never been a more vital time to be a B Corp

No individual person, country or organisation can solve the myriad of challenges facing societies. Collaboration is critical – and businesses can, and should, be at the forefront, using their business to positively impact their stakeholders and the environment. There is a global community of companies that believe in the power of business to help solve […]

The case for social housing on church land

Tone Wheeler of Environa Studio says there are three options to find land for affordable housing: government, churches and philanthropists. The government seems little interested and same with philanthropists, he says. In a new position paper on affordable housing commissioned by Churches Housing, Wheeler makes the case for social housing on church land. Social housing […]

What must be fixed before the NSW’s Planned Housing Diversity SEPP can do what it sets out to do

While the New South Wales government’s revamped housing diversity policy is being touted as the answer to the state’s shortfalls in affordable housing, I believe the unintended consequences may have the opposite effect. The proposed changes (Housing Diversity SEPP) are far more likely to suffocate future supply. This is due to the removal of provisions […]

Australia’s post-virus recovery, and the need for seasonal storage

Sustainability expert Alan Pears sets out key recovery priorities for a post-Covid economy. Also: the need (or lack thereof) for seasonal storage, and the problem of our ageing data resources. There is a widening gulf between the Australian government’s economic recovery plan and an ever increasing number of studies. Internationally, the International Energy Agency, United […]

On why the V shaped recovery in sustainability is coming fast

News from the Front Desk, Issue 498: John Hewson former Liberal leader is starting to change his tune on climate change: he’s becoming more optimistic. Christiana Figueres, the global climate powerhouse of negotiation, agrees. And so does business. South Pole, a global company that offsets carbon for corporates and consults on sustainability and climate to […]