LandCorp has been selected as an ABA100® Winner for Business Sustainability in The Australian Business Awards 2019. The Australian Business Award for Business Sustainability [BSA] recognises organisations that execute initiatives that demonstrate leadership and commitment to sustainable business practices.

LandCorp is the Western Australian Government’s land and property development agency. Established under the Western Australian Land Authority Act 1992, LandCorp is a publicly owned State Government Trading Enterprise managed via an independent Board of Directors. LandCorp’s role is to realise the potential of land and infrastructure developments for all Western Australians, from new industrial estates that will foster employment to residential communities in which people want to live. Across the State, the agency develops land for living and land for working to create vibrant, connected places to help build Western Australia’s social and economic prosperity. It takes an integrated approach to land and infrastructure development, operating across the capital city of Perth, the outer metropolitan area and throughout regional Western Australia.

LandCorp took on the WGV in White Gum Valley (WGV) project in 2009, commencing with demolition and remediation of the site. In 2011 it engaged with community members, researchers, industry, governments and contractors to develop a new vision for life at WGV – one that would transform the site into a modern, innovative and sustainable residential development that would enhance the lives of residents and protect the environment.

Creating this bold vision required a raft of innovative measures – from the transformation of a drainage sump into attractive community space, to an open-source approach to the outcomes of innovation trials, to revolutionary new models of Gen Y and social housing.

The result has been remarkable. WGV has achieved international accreditation as a One Planet Community from UK based organisation Bioregional and recognition for its sustainable approach, has won multiple national awards and is regularly visited by industry groups and international teams looking to learn from and replicate LandCorp’s work. As a Low Carbon Living Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) project, the site serves as a ‘living laboratory’, with several active PhD level research projects currently underway. The project is also regularly referenced by tertiary students as a case study in sustainable low carbon development.

WGV is now Western Australia’s first ‘open source’ sustainable community. LandCorp is committed to sharing research findings and results from technology trials online, to better inform industry and community about the benefits of living sustainably. This commitment will provide a roadmap for stakeholders to learn about each initiative, and how to better implement sustainable design and technology to enhance the environmental outcomes of future developments.

The successful delivery of WGV required LandCorp to secure community support while assisting in developing commitments to sustainable living practices, and find a way to balance its overarching goal of creating a modern, sustainable estate with the cost of living and affordability.

From the outset, the planning of WGV was informed by contemporary urban design principles. In realising the vision for this groundbreaking estate, three key areas emerged as a focus for the delivery of a truly sustainable development: the existing natural environment and habitats, energy and water efficiency, and demonstration, innovation and communication around sustainability initiatives.

While no Local, State or Federal Government regulatory environmental regulations applied to the WGV site, extensive community consultation undertaken by LandCorp in the planning phase had highlighted a strong desire for the existing natural environment such as mature trees to be preserved as much as possible – and the agency committed to doing just that.

Experienced field ecologists conducted an intensive fauna trapping program prior to timber harvesting and site clearing, and more than 100 birds, insects, reptiles and amphibians were recorded and relocated to adjacent bushland reserve. Mature trees were retained where possible, and became home to habitat boxes made from salvaged hollowed timber to provide homes for native species. Design of the estate worked with the site’s existing landform, and a diverse range of native and exotic plantings were provided to support the local ecology.

At WGV, LandCorp set out to create an innovative and sustainable development that would showcase best practice planning, modern design, collaboration and consultation. In every aspect of the project, LandCorp set clearly defined and replicable benchmarks to better inform and educate both industry and community about the benefits of sustainable living.

The estate has been recognised as an industry leader in sustainability, attracting visitors from across Australia and around the world, keen to see first-hand how the challenges of sustainable development have been addressed.

Town planners, architects, designers, builders and students have toured the site, with at least eight formal tours of up to 30 people each completed during 2018. There have also been at least as many informal tours by university student groups. In line with LandCorp’s open source commitment, the Gen Y Demonstration Housing Project, which delivers a new housing model for the next generation of home buyers, has also been open to the public with thousands inspecting its unique design.

At WGV, LandCorp’s successful implementation of precinct-scale initiatives has demonstrated that sustainable developments can deliver strong social, environmental and economic dividends.

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