May 21, 2015

2014 State of Australian Cities report still missing

We now face the farcical situation whereby the 2014 State of Australian Cities report has not yet been proven to exist, despite promises on four occasions that it would be published.

Due to the abolition of the Major Cities Unit, the Secretary of the Department, Mr Mike Mrdak has had to answer questions a number of times in Senate Estimates about the report’s publication.

Monday 18 November 2013, Senate Estimates.

Question: “Will you still publish State of Australian Cities reports?”

Mr Mrdak: “Yes.”

Tuesday 27 May, 2014, Senate Estimates.

Question: Are there any projects that are being researched that have now stopped?

Mr Mrdak: “We will produce this year essentially a State of the Cities report, which will continue to be published by the department.”

Monday 20 October 2014, Senate Estimates.

Question: “Has work on the State of Australian cities 2014 been completed?”

Mr Mrdak: “It is still underway and we are aiming for publication towards the end of the year.”

Tuesday 24 February 2015, Senate Estimates.

Question: “Has it yet been released?”

Mr Mrdak: “We envisage that over the next few months the government will release that and a companion publication on the state of Australian regions.”

More recently it has come to light that the Department signed an $11,000 contract with a printing agency for the 2014 report and that the contract period ran from the 8th December 2014 until the 10th December 2014, with a print date of the 15th December.

This begs the question, if it was indeed printed for publication on the 15th December, where is the 2014 State of Australian Cities report?

The annual report includes a comprehensive analysis of statistics and trends about the demographic and planning challenges facing major Australian cities.

It was downloaded three million times when published by the former Labor Government, and was heralded as a tremendous success and great resource by industry and policy experts.

An elected Labor Government will produce an annual State of Australian Cities report, ensure there is a Minister for Cities and will reintroduce the Major Cities Unit.

Labor knows we need national leadership to ensure the productivity, sustainability and liveability of our cities.