Major projects must meet green test

Drones fitted with straws to check on water quality.  Cutting aircraft noise in half at an airport by building a play park.

These are some of the things Labor wants to see done by developers seeking the approval of Infrastructure Australia for major projects.

Anthony Albanese, Labor’s shadow minister for cities, has outlined a new plan to expand the role of the government infrastructure agency.

A Labor government would require that new projects address two criteria.

“Firstly, proponents will need to show what provision for smart infrastructure has been included to ensure maximum benefit is achieved from any investment,” Mr Albanese told the Sydney Institute.

“Secondly, projects will be required to include in their design measures that improve their sustainability.”

Smart technology can cover a wide range of devices that improve the use of infrastructure.

A motorway can be improved, for example, by the use of entry ramp signalling, variable speed-limit signs, lane control, CCTV and digital message signs which provide live updates on traffic conditions and delays.

Water companies have found ways to resolve some of their most common issues through the use of water-quality monitoring drones and software that identifies bursts and leaks.

Mr Albanese said with commercial and residential buildings responsible for 23 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, sustainable design and planning must be at the forefront of government thinking.

He gave the example of France legislating that rooftops on new buildings in commercial zones must either be partially covered in plants or solar panels.

The new Badgerys Creek airport in western Sydney could follow the example of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.

Noise has dropped by half by digging 150 symmetrical furrows in a nearby 32-hectare green belt, which functions also as a recreational park.