Official opening of the Bond University Mirvac Centre for Sustainable Development
Official opening of the Bond University Mirvac Centre for Sustainable Development 11 August 2008, Gold Coast
I’d like to start by acknowledging the traditional custodians of this land, the Kombumerri and Yugambeh people.
We all know that our planet is getting hotter – climate change is the biggest social and economic challenge of our generation. The science is overwhelming and after years of inaction, we can no longer sit on our hands and hope that the problem goes away.
Our universities and research institutions will play a crucial role in helping Australia develop the technologies we need to move to a low carbon economy, and I’m so pleased to be here today to open this striking and hugely important Bond University Mirvac Centre for Sustainable Development.
There’s an old saying we all know: ‘practice what you preach’. This building has been built around that idea. The principles of sustainability that will be taught here are embodied in its structure, including the recycled steel and ground granulated blast furnace slag that it’s made of.
They’re reflected in the windows, which are oriented to reduce the amount of energy needed for lighting and climate control.
In fact just about anything here that you can walk on, sit on, touch, see or consume has either been used before or delivered to you by sustainable means – including the staff and students who are encouraged to arrive here by bicycle.
The building even has built-in intelligence that saves us humans from our own weaknesses – by, for instance, stopping us turning on the air conditioning if the windows are open, or opening the windows if a storm is coming. A bit like2001: A Space Odyssey. Let’s hope the computer remains sane.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about the many, many ‘green’ design achievements of this Centre is that if the University and Mirvac hadn’t told us about them, we would never have guessed they were there. This building looks sharp – presenting a great contemporary face to the world – despite having an award-winning and educationally ground breaking 6-star rating. It doesn’t necessarily look green – but it looks terrific.
It demonstrates that sustainability doesn’t mean sacrificing functionality or aesthetic appeal. I think you’ll agree that everyone involved in designing and creating this building have done a great job.
This 6-star rated building has a crucial job to do. Research tells us that around 40 percent of greenhouse emissions come from our buildings – and even more from the way our cities are laid out. Slashing this figure will make an enormous contribution to the fight against carbon pollution and the cause of water and resource efficiency.
The building will used for teaching the project managers, town planners, environmentalists, designers and others from around the world who will be leading the urban fight against global warming.
We’ll know the building has done its job when the principles it embodies find their way into the arts faculties, law schools and engineering departments of all our universities, as well as new offices, factories and homes across our suburbs and towns.
And we will know it’s really succeeded when, probably one day soon, project managers, builders and designers taught within its walls start creating 7, 8, 9 or 10-star buildings of their own.
This has been a fantastic collaborative effort between Bond University, the Mirvac Corporation and the Commonwealth Government, with a $3 million investment through the Capital Development Pool program.
Investment in educational infrastructure is at the centre of the Government’s Education Revolution and it is projects like this that will help our universities attract the best and brightest students and staff from across the world.
In the recent Federal Budget we announced the Education Investment Fund – the centrepiece of the government’s new approach to providing a sustainable investment base for Australia’s universities for the future.
The $11 billion Education Investment Fund is comprised of $5 billion from the surplus from the 2007-08 and 2008-09 budgets, and $6 billion from the former Higher Education Endowment Fund. Money from future surpluses may also be channelled into the fund.
The key priorities of the EIF will be capital expenditure for the renewal and refurbishment in universities and vocational institutions as well as in research facilities.
In the Budget this year the Government also announced the one-off $500 million Better Universities Renewal Funding initiative. This recognised the need for immediate capital funding to help renew university infrastructure on campuses across Australia.
The funding will assist campus renewal, improve higher education institutions’ infrastructure for teaching, learning and research and enhance the student experience through improved student amenities.
Under the funding agreement with the Commonwealth each university will determine the projects to be undertaken with the funding, consistent with its individual mission.
Bond University has received $1.4 million dollars through the Better Universities Renewal Funding and I am sure the university will use these funds effectively as they have done with this outstanding building.
The Mirvac Centre for Sustainable Development is a building that’s carbon neutral, water efficient, healthy, financially sustainable and smart. That makes this an incredibly important educational first as well as an environmental one.
And it’s my great pleasure to be here today to help officially declare it open.
Thank you very much.