Closing remarks

Video transcript

Text: Victoria’s Big Build. Ecologiq Greener Infrastructure Conference 2022. Victoria State Government.

Professor Tim Flannery:

Well, we’ve come sadly to the very end of our fantastic day.

We’ve had wonderful speakers, panels with just tremendous sessions.

I’ve learnt a huge amount from being here, and today I’d just like to recap on some of the take-home messages and maybe some of the opportunities that have come into my mind as I’ve listened to these great sessions.

I think the first takeaway for me is just what an enormous job there is ahead of us.

It’s clear that this is a long, not a long journey it’s a big journey.

We can make it faster but there’s a lot to be done that is for sure.

Secondly, the collaborations that go way beyond what we conventionally think about in terms of collaborating are going to be necessary to get the job done, so a much greater integration of government effort, just take government alone, from federal, state, down to local and across all of the state jurisdictions and local jurisdictions is going to be necessary.

And then collaborations with universities, innovators, industry, right through, it’s going to be a big job but it’s going to be tremendously productive and interesting and fruitful I think as we start building those collaborations.

I must say as someone who has been involved in the climate area for a long time, I’ve found the value of targets to be absolutely critical.

You set a target for emission reductions, everyone gets on board and starts doing their part of the job and takes great pride with it.

I think when it comes to recycling and to the circular economy some targets would go a long way.

I wonder what we’d achieve if the state of Victoria said that by 2030 there’d be no more virgin materials being used in their roadways and let’s find the way to achieve that target.

It might be unrealistic I don’t know, maybe you’ve got to take it out to 2040, but whatever it is I think targets still inspire action.

It’s absolutely clear as well that large infrastructure projects are going to be vital in this transformation, they’re where we get the biggest bang for the buck.

There’s also big obstacles when it comes to big infrastructure, but you know more about that than me, but I think that you can all take pride in being part of the engine room for the greatest transformation that we’ll see in terms of materials certainly in our lifetime.

I’d just like to also remind us that we are facing a time limited problem here.

We don’t have forever to solve this sustainability problem, in fact the climate scientists are telling us that unless we’re largely decarbonised by the mid-2030s we’re going to face some serious problems.

And the same is true for plastics and many other aspects of a more sustainable lifestyle.

So as we go about our work we could go about it at a leisurely pace, we could take a precautionary approach, none of that’s probably going to get us there entirely in the timeframe that we face.

Finally I’d just like to wrap up by saying we should take some pride, particularly you people as being potentially part of the solution.

There are few people in our society with more power to make change in this area than you, so we’ve had two great days here networking, learning, talking the change, let’s leave the room and walk the change.

Let’s get out there and make that change as much as we can.

With that I just want to thank you all for being a part of this proceedings, it’s been a tremendous event.

I’d like to thank the Victorian Government ecologiq Greener Infrastructure Conference organisers for what they’ve done, and especially thank our sponsors and exhibitors who contributed to the event.

The whole even it going to be made available online.

You can go – use recordings from the conference to aspire and inform colleagues, I would suggest you do that.

There’s been some great panel sessions that are just nice takeout, clip-outs, that I’m sure will be played again and again as we seek inspiration and ideas to tackle this problem.

Finally as we leave the venue, if you could use doors 12 and 13 that’d be great.

The hall is closed now so go out through 12 and 13 and go out with inspiration.

Thank you very much.

Visual: View of people in the auditorium.

Text: Victoria’s Big Build. Ecologiq Greener Infrastructure Conference 2022. Victoria State Government.