Building Ministers Agree to ‘climate resilience objective’


Building Ministers have agreed to add climate resilience as an objective of the Australian Building Codes Board.

This responds to a recommendation from the 2020 National Natural Disaster Arrangements Royal Commission and paves the way for the Australian Building Codes Board to consider future standards which ensure buildings can better withstand more extreme weather. 

This will mean fewer Australians and communities displaced by natural disasters, lower rebuilding costs, quicker recovery and more builders and tradespeople available to build the new homes Australia needs. 

Ministers also agreed the Australian Building Codes Board will work with industry, government and community stakeholders to ensure that any future National Construction Code changes to improve climate resilience are cost effective, practical and fit-for-purpose. 

Ways to report on and shrink the carbon footprint in construction – including extraction, production, transport and manufacturing of building materials – are also being addressed.

Ministers agreed to include a voluntary pathway for commercial buildings to calculate and report on embodied carbon in the 2025 National Construction Code, with the Australian Building Codes Board tasked to investigate how to incorporate a future minimum standard in the NCC 2028.

Quality and safety of buildings was also a key discussion point. Improving safety could generate an economic benefit of up to $2.4 billion per year. Ministers agreed to consider a national scheme to support the safety and reliability of building products. This addresses a key recommendation from the Building Confidence Report.

The current state of the construction sector was also discussed, including a range of measures to boost skilled workers announced in the 2024-25 Budget.

The Building Ministers’ Meeting Communique is available at the Building Ministers’ Meeting webpage.

Quotes attributable to Ed Husic, Minister for Industry and Science

“Stronger houses give Aussie families a better chance at reducing the impact of natural disasters.

“The steps we’ve initiated will ultimately help lower the risk of loss of life and property.

“That will mean peace of mind for Aussie families, as well as downward pressure on their insurance premiums over time.” 

Quotes attributable to Murray Watt, Minister for Emergency Management

“This is a welcome decision and demonstrates the Albanese Government’s commitment to implementing the recommendations of the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements, which was established following the devastation of Black Summer. 

“This complements the existing work we’re doing to better Australia’s resilience, including through our flagship $1 billion Disaster Ready Fund, and the work being undertaken by Commonwealth and State Planning Ministers to better land use planning.

“We know that the severity and frequency of natural disasters are on the rise due to climate change, so ensuring future homes are better able to withstand disasters is key.

“This decision will deliver stronger homes, safer communities and more confidence for homebuyers.”

Quotes Attributable to Stephen Jones, Minister for Financial Services

“Insurance measures the risk of damage in severe weather.

“Safer, stronger, more resilient buildings are less susceptible to damage in floods and fires.
“That means families are safer and there’s downward pressure on insurance costs.”

Above is a media release (24/06/2024) from the Hon. Madeleine King MP, Hon. Ed Husic MP and senator the Hon. Tim Ayres. The original media release can be found here.