Labor will elevate the importance of cities in the national policy debate by convening the first meeting of its new National Urban Policy Dialogue next Monday at Parliament House in Canberra.
A range of urban policy experts from organisations across the country will attend to offer their ideas about how to promote the productivity, sustainability and liveability of our cities.
Since his election more than a year ago, Tony Abbott has vacated the urban policy space, abolishing the Major Cities Unit as well as the Urban Policy Forum, created by Labor to provide industry and expert input to inform policy development.
Mr Abbott has also cut all Commonwealth funding for any public transport project that is not already under construction.
In doing so, he has raised the white flag on the war against traffic congestion, which is condemning millions of Australians to long commuting journeys when they should be at home spending time with their families.
While Labor wants to address the alarming emergence of drive-in, drive-out suburbs, where people live but where there are no jobs, the Government has no interest in urban policy.
In September Bill Shorten added the shadow portfolio of Cities to my responsibilities and I announced Labor’s national agenda for better cities.
We are convening this meeting to engage with the sector and seek out the best ideas from the experts.