Home' Future Building Australian Infrastructure Review : December 2010 Contents There is much talk of the size, scale and complexity of Australia's infrastructure backlog --
and the forward investment task. But with carbon intensity and climate change resilience
now moving squarely into the realm of sound business planning and risk mitigation, there
is a competitive advantage that can be driven by companies that are climate savvy.
One barrier to the realisation of these advantages is the lack of guidelines. The
Green Building Council of Australia has a star rating system to encourage developers to
create sustainable buildings. There is currently no such system for infrastructure design,
construction and engineering. The Australian Green Infrastructure Council (AGIC) is taking
steps towards establishing a sustainability rating scheme for infrastructure, but it is still in
the drafting stage. At this point, it is up to the infrastructure providers themselves, which is
both a problem and a business opportunity.
Tenix Chief Executive Ross Taylor believes that sustainability is an emerging source of
competitive advantage. Sustainability at Tenix is more than just a matter of environment; it's
a key part of business strategy to get ahead of the curve and stand apart from competitors.
Taylor spells it out frankly. 'I am convinced, having seen that in businesses I have run
and in other sectors, that if you can get into the sustainability space, you drive yourself into
a place that gives you a pretty signifcant competitive advantage,’ he says. ‘If you innovate
around it, you can get the jump on competitors.'
The company has a set of sustainability key performance indicators, and has started
measuring its performance against them. One example of the work done by Tenix is its
application of membranes to the treatment of wastewater. The result: smaller wastewater
treatment plants that are cheaper to build and produce higher quality effuent. Tenix is now
looking to lock in that competitive advantage, and has commenced joint research with
Murdoch University in Western Australia to drive further effciencies in the treatment of
Taylor says that one of the key issues now facing infrastructure providers is how they
can develop strategies to deal with climate change risks facing existing assets. Australia's
ageing and underdeveloped infrastructure makes that challenge diffcult.
'There is a body of infrastructure in Australia that is quite old, and as extremes of weather
occur, they're going to put stresses and strains on that infrastructure that it can't withstand,
and that will require a capital spend of some description to fx it or reposition it,’ he says.
82 futurebuilding DECEMBER 2010
By Leon Gettler
90% of Mackay's wastewater is now recycled to
irrigate local sugar cane
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