Jun 2, 2015

Government set to “junk” $11,000 report on cities

The Abbott Government has underlined its contempt for urban policy by wasting $11,000 printing a report on Australian cities which it did not release publicly.

Evidence before a Senate Budget Estimates committee has confirmed the Government entered an $11,000 contract late last year to print the 2014 edition of the State of Australian Cities Report.

The report was printed, but the government ordered officials not to distribute it.

This is an absurd waste of public money.

The 2014 report should have been finalized and distributed in 2014.

The former Labor Government pioneered the annual publication of the State of Australian Cities report to help inform policy makers about the pressures facing cities, including the critical issue of traffic congestion.

Through its Major Cities Unit, the Labor government used the report to underpin policies designed to lift the productivity, sustainability and liveability of Australian cities, which are home to four out of five Australians.

However, the Abbott Government has no urban policy and has raised the white flag on addressing urban congestion by slashing billions of dollars of investment earmarked for public transport projects.

Upon taking office, it also scrapped its Major Cities Unit, which was responsible for producing the State of Australian Cities report.

Appearing before the Senate’s Rural and Regional Affairs and Regional Affairs and Transport committee, Infrastructure Department Secretary Mike Mrdak confirmed that the report had been printed but not distributed.

We may need to junk them.

They are gathering dust …

Mike Mrdak, Senate Budget estimates committee – 28 May, 2015

The Government’s refusal to distribute this document highlights its ongoing disinterest in developing policies to improve the efficiency of Australian cities and the quality of life of the people who call them home.