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Consulting Engineers Tell Government

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					News Release
Immediate: 6 February 2004                                                   (02/04)



Consulting Engineers Tell Government:
Be Smarter About Land Taxes

Australia’s peak consulting engineering body has called for a ‘holistic’ approach to
environmental sustainability – and suggests Governments use their land tax benefits for
that, rather than putting the money into consolidated revenue.

In the wake of NSW Premier Bob Carr’s desire for strategies to design more efficient and
quality houses the Association of Consulting Engineers Australia (ACEA) says the Premier
got it right – but the whole concept can go a lot further.

‘We’d like to talk to Governments and Departments about what needs to be done,’ says
ACEA Chief Executive Therese Charles.

‘The problem of environmental sustainability will not be fixed by just tackling the design of
buildings. A total approach is needed - from urban planning through design and siting of
buildings, development of transport and community facilities to the use of improved
materials and final landscaping.’

‘The benefits which Governments reap from high levels of land tax need to be put back
into improved social and environmental planning and community facilities directly, rather
than consolidated into Government revenue.’

Consulting engineers have contributed to improved urban design for many years but
economic and social aspirations combined with market expectations have forced
compromises. Governments have pursued short-term urban consolidation policies to
maximise land and infrastructure use - and lost sight of longer-term environmental and
social impacts including transport.

The notion that subdividing allows anyone to ‘squeeze’ the maximum number of houses
into a development needs to change. Suburban ‘McMansions’ are the result of buyers
expecting large homes - which can only be delivered on small blocks as mass produced
double storey brick caverns which are difficult to heat and cool.

The ACEA says consulting engineers can have a big input on housing improvements
through their skills and experience in urban design and planning, improvements in the
efficiencies of power, water, ventilation, lighting, acoustics, landscaping, roads and
transport, the use of more energy efficient construction materials and techniques and the
use of alternative energy and water sources.

But improved environmental sustainability and energy efficiency can be achieved by
governments, planners, sociologists, architects and engineers working together to create
better urban environments and buildings.

The ACEA represents Australian consulting engineering firms which provide technology-based consulting
services to government and private sector clients in Australia and in more than 40 countries worldwide.
Services are provided in the fields of building, infrastructure, oil and gas, transportation, mining,
communications and information technology, agriculture, food processing and manufacturing.

For further information, please contact:
Therese Charles, Chief Executive Tel: 02 9922 4711 Mob: 0413 046 616
John Ridgway, Policy Consultant Tel: 02 9922 4711 Mob: 0407 924 256

				
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