Some 'key findings' responding to the issue of 'sustainability' (and pertinent to this line of discourse) from the recently released Australian Government State of Australian Cities 2013 report (pp. 6-7): Heat • Based on current trends, heat-related deaths in Australian cities, especially Perth and Brisbane, are predicted to increase. • Policy responses to previous heat events were tested during the record-breaking summer of 2012–13, when Australia registered the hottest September to March period on record, the hottest summer on record, the hottest month on record, the hottest day on record and the longest national-scale heatwave. It was also the hottest summer on record for Australian sea-surface temperatures. • Despite these records, most Australian cities did not exceed their long term average highest monthly maximum and minimum temperatures during the summer months of 2012–13. There were also significant differences in rainfall, particularly between Queensland coastal cities (many of which received record rainfall), and southern cities, some of which received hardly any rain during this period. • The Bureau of Meteorology has developed an improved method of recording and predicting heat events. These are now able to be compared and mapped using a measure known as the ‘excess heat factor’ (EHF) measure. • The liveability of Australia’s cities will be affected by how their sustainability is managed. Many cities are making significant progress in introducing of vegetative (including plants, trees, open green spaces and even forests) at various scales across cities – from buildings to districts and metropolitan regions – to reduce the UHI effect and thereby increase liveability and reduce energy use. Household energy • Since 2008, residential energy use has accounted for 12 per cent of the nation’s total consumption. • Energy demand for space heating and cooling is projected to increase in the coming decades. Factors influencing increased demand include houses with the largest average floor areas in the world, the decreasing occupancy rate of dwellings and the increasing use of whole-house heating and cooling systems. • Airconditioner use in the residential sector has increased significantly, with possession almost doubling between 1994 and 2004, rising from an average of 0.395 units to 0.762 units per household. This is projected to increase even further. The rapid growth in air conditioner possession has effectively overshadowed any energy consumption reductions gained by improved efficiency over the same period. • Appliances account for 23 per cent of Australia’s residential sector energy consumption, with electricity being the predominant power source used. Attempts to reduce appliance-related energy consumption by the residential sector have focused on achieving greater product efficiency. The overall gains achieved by these efficiency initiatives have, however, been offset by the increased number and variety of appliances in homes. Transport energy • Nearly 40 per cent of total national energy use is expended in moving people and freight. The transport sector uses 73 per cent of Australia’s total liquid fuel, with over half of that being used by road transport. • The transport sector also contributes the largest proportion of average household carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions at almost 42 per cent. Light passenger vehicle use alone accounts for 35 per cent of Australia’s average household emissions, by far the largest overall component of the transport sector’s emissions. • Energy use in light passenger vehicles is relatively well documented, but there is more limited publicly available information for mass transit systems making comparison of energy use between modes in Australia difficult. The potential energy efficiency savings of urban mass transit systems are considerable; however, further information in this area will be needed to inform public policy decisions. Waste • Australia generated 54 million tonnes of waste in 2009–10. Forty seven per cent of this was recovered domestically, 46 per cent went to landfill and the remaining seven per cent was exported. • Waste worth $2.4 billion formed one per cent of Australia’s exports in 2011–12. Eighty two per cent of this was ferrous metals, gold, copper and aluminium. • Australia’s waste management industry has been valued at $9.5 billion with income from waste products valued at $4.5 billion annually.