The role of sustainable cities & green jobs in Australia

Edward attended the 2012 Rio+20 summit where he represented The University of Western Sydney. He is currently studying a Bachelors of Business and Laws, as well as being a part of the Aspire Leadership. Program.

Abstract

This paper examines the existing Australian sustainability landscape and concludes that more can be done from a policy perspective to ensure a more sustainable future. Considering the two areas of sustainable cities and green jobs through the four lenses of: productivity, sustainability, liveability and governance reveal that Australia’s commitment to sustainable development can be improved. Although legislation and academic research created by government aims to improve existing cities in line with sustainable development, the efficacy of such measures is brought into question. Considering green jobs, the initial government subsidies and consequent hasty withdrawal of funds from the Solar Credits Program reveals a waning commitment. Australia’s pursuit of a more sustainable future is one currently mired in theory. It does not fully utilise a defining link between young people in green jobs, and the subsequent development of sustainable cities. Education, above all, is concluded to be the primary method through which existing sustainability shortfalls can be addressed. In looking to a sustainable future, young Australians should not be overlooked. Recommendations:

  • Establish subsidised or fully sponsored TAFE and University places throughout Australian tertiary institutions that teach useful skills for employment in the green jobs sector;

  • In line with the social protection floor that green jobs offer, target potential students from low socioeconomic backgrounds;

  • The Solar Credits Program and other subsidy-based programs like it should be reinstated to their previous operational level. This means, no cuts to funding, thereby leaving skilled workers without employment and undermining previous sustainability achievements; and

  • Focus on utilising existing infrastructure in the most efficient ways possible. This may mean an increase in housing density, but not at the expense of resident’s quality of life. ‘Greening’ buildings through such measures as: installing solar PV or insulating walls to reduce cooling and heating costs should be encouraged. Perhaps this too could be achieved through subsidies.

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