Backing A Better Built Environment to Address Climate Change: What This Means for Strata

Where are we now?

In 2021, we have observed the release of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report in 2021 and a possible adoption by the Commonwealth Government of a formal net zero emissions target by the year 2050.

Both of these events have reinforced the need for Australia’s economy and industries to prevent, respond to, and adapt to the issue of climate change.

The reality of the situation described in the IPCC report is alarming and highlights the greatest imperative yet for governments and major sectors of our economy to coordinate and to ultimately, act to meet this challenge.

By the 2050s, Victoria’s average annual temperature may increase by up to 2.4 degrees Celsius compared to the 1986–2005 average (under a high emissions scenario) with double the number of very hot days (above 40°C ).1 Sea levels will continue rising – by the 2050s, the sea level is projected to rise by about 24 cm (relative to 1986–2005) under medium and high emissions scenarios.

The effects of climate change on Australia and the consequences for strata communities across Australia has only become more apparent, whether through observing the impact of the worst bushfire season on record in 2019/2020, or the increased prevalence of extreme weather events in northern Australia, such as cyclones and flooding.

It is abundantly clear that not only will action on climate change involve strata communities, but that this will also aim to protect them as well.

What does all of this mean for strata?

Today, buildings account for approximately 40 per cent of global carbon emissions, and approximately 25 per cent of Australia’s total carbon emissions. Meanwhile, the proportion of land plan registrations in Victoria by owners corporations are projected to increase from approximately 50 per cent in 2014, to 66 percent by the year 2050, reflective of projected population growth.2

The strata sector in Victoria grows by the day and remains a yet-to-be recognised leader in creating a greener, cleaner world past the crises of the COVID-19 pandemic in a tangible way.

To borrow a phrase, this is a sector which can literally “Build Back Better”.

SCA (Vic) welcomes the government’s stated goals of mobilising our towards adaptation to address climate change and its associated consequences in social, economic, and environmental terms, following the passage of legislation such as the Climate Change Act (2017).

What are SCA (Vic) doing to tackle climate change?

SCA (Vic) supports these world-leading adaptation plans to act on the issue of climate change. Our organisation directly engaged in consultation processes in 2021 with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) on how the built environment can best adapt to meet these challenges, and even extends as far as our own alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

SCA (Vic) has continuously consulted with the Victorian Government throughout 2021 concerning the need for changes to incoming owners corporation laws and regulations to meet the need for adaptation measures to be adopted by the strata and owners corporations sector throughout the state in the years to come, and to realise our shared objectives on the issue of climate change.

We want to unleash the true potential for the strata and owners corporation sector to capitalise on new technologies and developments by placing the power and the means to affect change more readily in the hands of strata managers.

The role of the strata manager is unique, based upon existing experience and knowledge in building support for, procuring, and facilitating the uptake of sustainability measures, and improving the performance of the buildings that they manage, to the benefit of owners and occupiers through improved living standards and access to sustainable appliances and technologies.

The clearest fact of all in our proposals to government in shaping the future built environment and addressing the threat of climate change in both the short and long term, is that the strata sector cannot afford to be overlooked or ignored as it has been in the past.

An opportunity abounds for the strata sector to build on our collaborative efforts with the Victorian Government and drive the strata sector forward in adopting sustainability measures as a standard practice.

1 ‘Extreme climate indices used’ – Bureau of Meteorology
2 ‘Plan Melbourne’ Metropolitan Planning Strategy, Victorian Government (2014)

View Comments


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *