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.

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.

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 […]

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 […]

On what we’re doing, and what’s next

News from the Front Desk, Issue 496:When the NSW planning minister periodically taps an agency chief on the shoulder to share what the new priorities for their work should be, it’s something to be responded to, with alacrity. For Greater Sydney Commission boss Geoffrey Roberts, that tap came recently in the wake of the Coronavirus […]

On why personal responsibility is just part of the picture

News from the Front Desk, Issue 493: Sometimes urging people to take personal responsibility is a fraudulent strategy for positive change. A con that says it’s all our own fault if the planet blows up. We need to take shorter showers, recycle, don’t buy plastics, travel less. If we’re fat or sick or work in […]

On what we learnt at Flick the Switch – that we want more net zero

News from the front desk, issue 492: Here at The Fifth Estate our heads are spinning after what was an action packed five hours at our Flick the Switch event yesterday about the transition to all electric, net zero buildings and cities. The subject matter certainly struck a chord – we had record numbers in […]

On why the net zero all-electric challenge deserves the biggest brains trust we can manage (on 5 August at Flick the Switch)

News from the front desk, issue 491: There’s pretty much consensus, in The Fifth Estate’s circles at least, that going all-electric is the most straight-forward way for most buildings to hit net zero targets. It makes sense when Australia’s energy network is tracking towards the “biggest and fastest” clean energy transition in the world according […]

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?

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 […]

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 […]

On myopic split systems thinking – and environmentalism’s struggle with racism

News from the front desk, Issue 484: According to the social scientists it can take a good 10 years for society to forget a collective trauma and move on.  Even after the actual danger has passed, the fear lives on. We’re wondering if it’s this kind of fear that is making the PM Scott Morrison […]

On how the all-electric, net zero horse has already bolted

News from the front desk, Issue 483: Last week, the Morrison government unleashed its technology roadmap on Australia, starring natural gas in a leading role. It didn’t take long for people to start protesting the pro-gas sentiment pushed by the government and its friends in the gas industry. Atlassian chief executive and renewables advocate Mike […]

On gas and hot air

News from the front desk: Five or six years ago the notion of cheap and plentiful gas available to our homes and offices might have been something to fear for its impact on climate and our greenhouse gas emissions.

On why this might be a great time for pause and thought around our next move

News from the front desk Issue 480: Politicians around the country are gearing up to pull the lever on big infrastructure projects to boost the economy. NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance labelled a second wave of mega transport projects a “silver bullet” to kickstart the NSW economy. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the state would need […]

On the “Cover of Covid” in WA and the choice of legacy for our PM in Canberra  

News from the front desk Issue No 479: Something interesting came up in our second TFE Live event on Wednesday with Davina Rooney, chief executive of the Green Building Council of Australia, and Danni Hunter, CEO of the Urban Development Institute of Australia Victoria. A new National Construction Code will come into effect on Friday, […]