Smart Green Apartments Launch

(6.30pm 20 September 2011, Barnet Long Room, Customs House)

Thank you. Good evening, everyone. I'd like firstly to acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land, and to pay my respects to the Elders, both past and present.

I'd also like to welcome Monica Barone, CEO of the City of Sydney and Councillors John McInerney, Chris Harris and Di Tornai.

I'm so pleased to be launching the first phase of our five-year Smart Green Apartments program.

By working with apartment owners and residents, building and strata managers, resident associations, Green Strata, and the relevant NSW government departments, we want to support the greening of apartment buildings in the City of Sydney.

Our Sustainable Sydney 2030 targets are ambitious. They include reduction of greenhouse emissions by 70% of 2006 levels and meeting up to 100 per cent of electricity demand by local generation, and 10 per cent of water by local water capture.

By collaborating with the state, the utility providers and the strata agencies, we can help drive change in the apartment building sector.

This will make a real difference to Sydney as apartments already make up 30 per cent of our high-density building stock, and they house three-quarters of the City's residents. Strata living is also the fastest growing sector in NSW and it's predicted that in 20 years, half the state will be living in strata schemes.

So they present tremendous opportunities for environmental savings.

At the moment, however, apartment residents are responsible for almost twice the emissions of house-dwellers - due to common area services and the base building itself.

This program will help us reduce the environmental footprint of the buildings and build the capacity of apartment occupants, owners' corporations and executive committees to improve their sustainability.

It will identify where energy and greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced and introduce innovative ways to make buildings and apartments more efficient in energy and water conservation and waste reduction.

As energy prices continue to rise, and water prices also rising because of the higher energy costs of getting water to the building and pumping it around the building, the program will help contain costs.

It will also help better connect the residents of our vertical villages and improve the liveability of their environments.

The first phase of the program will target 30 buildings, and will start with a pilot program involving five buildings.

I welcome our partners in the program reference group:

  • the Owners' Corporation Network;
  • Strata Communities Australia (NSW);
  • Australian Resident Accommodation Managers Association;
  • Sydney Water;
  • Ausgrid;
  • Jemena Gas;
  • Green Building Council of Australia;
  • Tenant's Union of NSW;
  • Green Strata;
  • NSW Fair Trading;
  • NSW Planning; and
  • the Office of Environment and Heritage.

Tonight marks the start of some really important changes in the way our apartment communities live and operate - and it's one that will benefit us all.

Before I hand over to Chris Derksema, our Director Sustainability at the city I want to briefly update you on my work on strata reform in Parliament.

Strata Legislation Amendment Bill continues to progress. While its focus has been on simple changes that can make a real difference to the lives of strata owners and residents, this has still involved complex drafting due to the complex nature of strata law. The latest round of changes was made following submissions from the NSW Law Society.

Provisions include:

  • a ban on the original owner (developer) from also being the strata managing agent;
  • greater transparency for management positions;
  • ensuring up-to-date by-laws are available;
  • ensuring the owners corporation is able to receive notices;
  • preventing overcrowding; and
  • improvements to dispute resolution processes.

I thank you all for your participation.