Nov 16, 2018

Media Release – Darwin City Deal Welcome but Long Overdue – Friday, 16 November, 2018

A Shorten Labor Government would honour the Darwin City Deal, announced today after 18 months of needless delay by the chaotic Morrison Government.

However, a Labor Government would build upon the deal, transforming it into a City Partnership based on more genuine collaboration between the three levels of government.

The Turnbull Government first announced its intention to create a City Deal on April 18, 2017. But its internal disunity and policy inertia have needlessly delayed delivery of the arrangement.

Labor supports the principle of greater co-operation between the Commonwealth, states and territories and councils to improve the productivity, sustainability and liveability of Australian cities.

However, the Coalition’s City Deals model is a top-down process which treats local councils as casual stakeholders, rather than genuine partners in urban policy, and also does not include adequate engagement with the private sector.

Labor’s City Partnerships program, announced in July, is a bottom-up model, acknowledging that local communities and their elected councils need to be central players in decision-making concerning the priorities for their own communities.

Shadow Cities Minister Anthony Albanese said there were no clear guidelines about how City Deals work and no mechanism for independent oversight as to whether they achieve the desired outcomes.

“A Shorten Labor Government will address this deficiency by re-establishing the Major Cities Unit within the independent Infrastructure Australia and requiring it to use transparent measures to both recommend and assess the progress of City Partnerships,’’ Mr Albanese said.

“The Major Cities Unit will also refresh the National Urban Policy that Labor released when last in government to ensure City Partnerships align with its objectives, for example, in areas like sustainability and smart technology.’’

Labor will also establish an expert panel to update strategic planning guidelines for cities as well as the development of guidelines for City Partnerships, in consultation with the Minister, which include benefits to the economy.

Member for Solomon Luke Gosling said the Northern Territory had waited long enough for the Coalition to sign the Darwin City Deal.

“Now that the deal has been signed, funds must start flowing as soon as possible,” Mr Gosling said.

“The $100 Million in Federal funding is welcome, but it will arrive too late to save many businesses in the Territory.”