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The Climate Group convenes first meeting of all Australian premiers, business leaders on climate

09 November 2009
The Climate Group convenes first meeting of all Australian premiers, business leaders on climate

In an Australian first, State Premiers joined with business leaders on Thursday 5 November to explore accelerating the development of low carbon, energy efficient smart cities across Australia.

Convened by The Climate Group and chaired by its CEO Steve Howard, the meeting focused on what the building blocks of new smarter, low carbon communities will be. Attendees discussed the ways in which governments and business might work together to achieve this vision sooner and more effectively.

Among the specific topics discussed were electric vehicles deployment and the benefits this provides to power supply and renewable energy generation; the power of the internet and IT to drive energy efficiency; and proposals for lowering barriers to wide-scale retrofit of the existing building stock. Attendees also underlined the importance of developing replicable and scalable pilot projects that could be taken up by all states, rather than adopting an experimental, state by state approach to smart city development.

A key outcome of the meeting was agreement for a further workshop to define how state governments can move ahead on low-carbon cities with the support of business. The workshop will aim to provide specific recommendations to government, based on a clear and shared vision that, among other aims will avoid duplication of effort and provide the right level of standardisation to encourage innovation.
Speaking after the meeting, Steve Howard said, "This meeting is a useful step on the road towards building communities that are more efficient in their use of resources, smarter in their use of technology and resilient in their response to the impacts of climate change."

The meeting immediately preceded the first Council of The Australian Federation (CAF) meeting to focus climate change. It was chaired by New South Wales Premier Nathan Rees, hosted by South Australian Premier Mike Rann and attended by the First Minister from each state government in Australia. First Ministers emphasised the continued importance of working with, and learning from, sub-national governments around the world on climate change policy.

To that end Premier Rann will table a joint Statement of Commitment on behalf of all Australian States at The Climate Group's Climate Leaders Summit at COP15 in December.  Queensland's Minster for Climate Change, Kate Jones, said she will also attend the meeting in Copenhagen. Read the CAF communique.

Businesses that attended the Roundtable were: Alstom, ARUP, Better Place, BP, Bunnings, CISCO Systems, GE, IBM, Lend Lease, Macquarie Bank, Origin Energy, Swiss Reinsurance and Santos.

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