Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 73.80
Liaison Corey Peterson
Submission Date June 2, 2022

STARS v2.2

University of Tasmania
EN-14: Participation in Public Policy

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Sustainability Team
UTAS
Infrastructure Services and Development
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the municipal/local level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the municipal/local level:

The Vice-Chancellor and senior management meet regularly with the Mayors, Councillors and senior management on both the Hobart and Launceston City Councils. The focus is on public policy at a local level, both for the University to inform Councils’ policies and decision-making and vice versa, with the goal of finding mutual benefit for both the University and the communities in which we operate. Given the University's move from our suburban campuses into the centres of both cities, there have been monthly meetings focused on sustainable transport outcomes and urban liveability redevelopment through Council-led Urban Precincts and Neighbourhoods policy and programs and included in the overall Sustainable Hobart Action Plan (https://yoursay.hobartcity.com.au/sustainable-hobart/).

For example, the University has advocated for redevelopment of a major intersection and surrounding blocks in central Hobart to decrease space for motor vehicles in favour of bike lanes, wider footpaths, more urban vegetation and water sensitive urban design to help deliver a more liveable central business district. To provide structure to University involvement in city planning, the Vice-Chancellor and Hobart City Council established an historic Heads of Agreement in 2019 (https://www.utas.edu.au/communications/general-news/all-news/an-agreement-for-the-future-of-hobart2).

Similarly, in Launceston, the University has advocated for improved active and public transport connections through direct engagement with local government, State Government and service providers to improve timetables and routes, including co-contribution with government to establish high frequency services along a route that includes some of the city's poorest areas and the University. This advocacy on transport policy has delivered positive social and environmental sustainability outcomes, including a 25% increase in public transport use within the first three months of service implementation. The University also contributed formal submissions to both central Launceston and greater Launceston transport strategies development (https://yourvoiceyourlaunceston.com.au/city-of-launceston-transport-strategy-2020-2040/).


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level:

The University has directly contributed to discussions and state government decision making around a number of sustainability areas. Recognising the ongoing need to coordinate submissions to national, state and local government consultations, the University Tasmanian Policy Exchange (TPE) (https://www.utas.edu.au/community-and-partners/tpe) in the Vice-Chancellor's Office was established in late 2019 to contribute to public debate to develop practical evidence-based solutions to the numerous economic, social and environmental challenges we are facing. The TPE has led efforts to connect and collate responses from a host of research and professional staff for a number of submissions to the State Government with regard to sustainability. The 2020 submission to the proposed Tasmanian Renewable Energy Action Plan calling for Tasmania to generate 200% of its energy needs from renewable sources explained the University's support. Submissions in 2021 included (with PDFs available from the TPE website):
- The University’s Discussion Paper Towards a climate-positive Tasmania
- A summary presentation of Towards a climate-positive Tasmania
- The University of Tasmania’s April 2021 submission to the Review of the Tasmanian Climate Change Act
- Submission to the draft Climate Change (State Action) Amendment Bill 2021

The University also houses the Institute for Social Change that focuses on providing expert advice with respect to socio-cultural aspects of sustainability. As part of our Vice-Chancellor's commitment as a key member of the Premier's Economic and Social Recovery Advisory Council (PESRAC) established to guide the state through the COVID pandemic and recovery, the ISC undertook 'The Tasmania Project Wellbeing Survey' (https://www.utas.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/1562210/PESRAC-REPORT-FINAL_ISC_March-2021.pdf). The project’s aims are to support immediate and longer-term social and economic decisions by providing useful, evidence-based and timely information, and share Tasmanian residents' experiences and ideas through this critical period and beyond.


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the national level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the national level:

The University has directly contributed to discussions and national government policy setting in a number of sustainability areas, including in energy, marine and aquaculture management, and Antarctica.

The Future Energy Group at the University of Tasmania is an interdisciplinary research group whose members have worked to advocate for sustainability in the energy sector at a national level in Australia (https://www.utas.edu.au/arts-law-education/research/future-energy). Future Energy group members have the support of the University Executive Team through the respective College Executive Deans. Policy issues that Future Energy members have advocated for change on include distributed energy, social equity, electric vehicles, and carbon accounting. Some examples of activities include: Future Energy’s active membership of the Energy Research Institutes Council for Australia (ERICA) which provides research-led policy advice to national government and industry through an annual research conference as well as one-to-one discussions with legislators (see https://www.erica.org.au/); membership of Energy Consumers Australia Reference Committee (Dr Phillipa Watson, UTAS researcher), which advises the ECA on emerging consumer issues; and, start-up The Good Car Company (Anthony Broese van Groenou, UTAS PhD student) in their work advocating for electric vehicle policy change.


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the international level?:
No

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the international level:
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A brief description of other political positions the institution has taken during the previous three years (if applicable):
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A brief description of political donations the institution made during the previous three years (if applicable):
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Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability advocacy efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.