Australia’s peak authority on green building and construction has challenged the newly elected Coalition government to commit to undertaking concrete measures to promote and encourage sustainable building and construction.

Romilly Madew, chief executive of the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA), says her organisation maintained strong relationships with the Coalition throughout its time in opposition and has looked forward to working cooperatively with the new government to promote sustainability throughout the country.

“We have built strong working relationships with many members of the Coalition over a number of years and we look forward to strengthening these relationships and working together towards better built environments for all Australians,” Madew said in a statement.

She called on the new government to commit to goals outlined in a three-point plan released by the GBCA during the election campaign.

“We encourage the incoming Abbott Government to lead by example, by improving the performance of the federal government’s building stock, and achieving environmental ratings for all the buildings it owns, occupies and develops,” she said.

Recent modelling undertaken by the GBCA found annualised savings of more than $35 million in electricity costs could be achieved by raising the energy efficiency of the federal government’s building stock by around 10 per cent and productivity increases within government operations of as little as one per cent could deliver up to $200 million in economic benefits each year based on the government’s current salary costs.

The GBCA also wants the government to support private sector initiatives to improve existing buildings and adopt a range of broader measures to improve the overall environmental friendliness of cities, including the appointment of a Minister for Cities and Urban Development, raising the status of the Major Cities Unit, and the consideration of innovative funding of key infrastructure.

“We urge the incoming Australian government to support industry to transform Australia’s existing building stock…[which] will drive down operation costs for businesses and offer a low-cost direct opportunity to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions,” Madew says.

“We also call on the Abbott government to commit to policies that will boost productivity in Australian cities and support liveability, community resilience and sustainability.”