Today in the Parliament I asked the Assistant Minister for Cities, Angus Taylor, the following three questions, which he was unable to answer:
- Which councils will be involved in the proposed City Deal for Western Sydney?
- What is the actual budget for City Deals, beyond that which has been announced in the guise of City Deals by this Government, across the forward estimates?
- Why is it that the Australian Government is not participating in Habitat III, which is taking place as we speak in Quito in Ecuador?
The Assistant Minister must either not know the answers to these questions, or not consider these issues important enough for his response.
City Deals provide an opportunity for governments, in particular local governments, to work together and encourage the economic growth of a region.
As part of this they receive support from the national government in recognition that such local investment produces a return to Federal revenue.
In the dying weeks of the Federal Election the Coalition announced three so-called “City Deals” in Townsville, Launceston and Western Sydney.
However, these simply matched Labor’s commitments.
Just as important is Habitat III, which is a once in 20 years conference that focuses on housing and sustainable urban development.
Many tens of thousands of participants will attend this conference, including those from governments all around the world.
The Australian Government must explain why it has chosen not to participate, particularly given the ongoing challenges to the productivity, sustainability and liveability of our cities.