Jul 20, 2017

Coalition talks about a plan for a plan

The Turnbull Government’s Cities Performance Framework interim report released today is nothing more than a plan for a plan.

What’s more the ‘Framework’ that the report purports to establish will be, at best, a poor imitation of the annual State of Australian Cities report published by the former Federal Labor Government and scrapped by the current Coalition Government.

The State of Australian Cities report was first introduced in 2010 to “track and compare cities’ performance in order to make the best policy and investment decisions for Australia’s future”.

These reports were downloaded millions of times and considered a highly valuable resource by stakeholders and policy makers because of the breadth and depth of issues each report encompassed.

In contrast, the “Framework” proposed by the Coalition is far less comprehensive, making no mention of important issues such as the impact of climate change on our cities as well as the challenges of our ageing population.

The Property Council has also identified a gap in terms of data on housing supply, with its Chief Executive, Ken Morrison, saying today that it “is a critical part of the housing affordability equation, and we again call on the Turnbull Government to reinstate the National Housing Supply Council to plug this gap.”

What’s more, the “Framework” won’t even be released until the end of this year.

In the meantime, Australian cities continue to grapple with critical issues including urban congestion, housing affordability and rapid growth in outer suburbs.

Urban congestion alone will cost the nation $53 billion a year by 2031 if left unaddressed.

Australian cities can’t keep waiting for the Coalition Government to act on its rhetoric.

Our cities need real investment, and the evidence-based research that underpins this investment, now.

Labor understands this and that’s why when we were in Government, in addition to producing reports, we also:

  • Established the Major Cities Unit;
  • Released Our Cities, Our Future: a National Urban Policy For a productive, sustainable and liveable future which articulates the Commonwealth’s objectives and priorities for our major cities;
  • Created the Urban Policy Forum made up of national leaders in cities policy to advise and guide future policy;
  • Committed more to modernising and extending urban passenger rail than all our predecessors since Federation combined;
  • Funded the Liveable Cities Program to make our cities more productive, sustainable and liveable;
  • Established a National Smart Managed Motorways Trial to retrofit smart technology to improve traffic flows along congested motorways and city roads;
  • Placed the need for infrastructure planning reform on the agenda of COAG with the establishment of the National Planning Taskforce;
  • Required all State and Territory governments to have in place strategic plans for their capital cities to guide future growth.