CitySwitch Progress Report & Awards Presentation

(6pm, Wednesday 27 November 2013, Sydney Town Hall)

Hello, everyone. Welcome to Town Hall. I'm pleased to welcome this evening's guests:

  • Tom Grosskopf, Director of the Metropolitan Branch of the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage
  • Dr Glenn Platt from CSIRO
  • Mayor of North Sydney Council, Jilly Gibson
  • Our NSW CitySwitch program partners here tonight; the Cities of North Sydney, Willoughby, Parramatta, and Ryde
  • The Net Balance Foundation
  • CitySwitch signatories and
  • Councillors

Tonight I'm excited to be celebrating our progress with CitySwitch. We'll showcase this progress, following the CitySwitch award ceremonies that took place last week in Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne, we will announce both this year's NSW winners and the overall National Award winners.

CitySwitch continues to foster collaboration and leadership among the network of businesses across the country that have committed to environmental excellence.

It also involves all three levels of government, with local government supporting local businesses; State Governments supporting with NABERS ratings and tonight's awards; and the Federal Government financial support which has allowed the program to extend into regional areas.

CitySwitch also embraces a diverse cross-section of industry - from financial services to architecture, from government to legal services and the property sector.

Our signatories now represent over 12 per cent of CBD commercial office space in Australia. The program continues to grow, and now has over 493 separate offices signed up across the country.

Nationally, it has reached the milestone of two million square metres - reached earlier this month when two new Brisbane offices of a long-standing signatory, the Commonwealth bank, came on line.

As many of you know, CitySwitch became a truly national program in July, thanks to the introduction of the Federal Government Energy Efficiency Information Grants program. This grant makes the program available to any commercial office tenant wishing to join, and will see us build on our offering of free resources, case studies and toolkits to help signatories implement energy efficiency projects.

As a result, we are now working in partnership with the Net Balance Foundation to deliver an extended program, with three new highly skilled managers working on this servicing all regional areas.

But tonight is really about you, our CitySwitch signatories and the innovations you've found to increase your sustainability. We'll be celebrating that later tonight, with recognition in a number of categories, including the new Partnership Award.

Across the board, we're seeing a huge range of activities being undertaken by members, and we'll hear about some of the really outstanding initiatives later this evening.

What is really encouraging is to see the way CitySwitch has been taken up by the big end of town, and just as enthusiastically by the smaller businesses - many supported through our grant program - all of them stepping up to take action.

The program has created a new standard for business leadership to help reduce our carbon impact.

As I mentioned, I'll be announcing the 2013 Award winners a little later this evening. But the great strength of CitySwitch is in the commitment you all bring. Yours leadership matters. Your willingness to share your lessons with others matters. Thank you for the contributions you are all making to a more sustainable Australia.

And now, I think we're all looking forward to hearing from Dr Glenn Platt, leader of CSIRO's Energy Transformed Flagship program. He's going to tell us about some of the opportunities on the horizon to create the low-carbon future that is our best hope for a sustainable future.