Dec 11, 2018

Media Release – IA Report Exposes Government’s abysmal record on Infrastructure – Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

The Planning Liveable Cities report, which was released today by Infrastructure Australia, echoes Federal Labor’s concern that the Coalition Government has failed to ensure investment in vital infrastructure keeps pace with the growth of our cities.

The report tells us that “our largest cities are playing catch-up in delivering infrastructure to support population growth” and it calls on government to act now to better sequence infrastructure to meet the needs of urban communities.

Exacerbating this challenge is the fact that under the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government, Federal infrastructure grant funding will fall off a cliff over the next four years, from $8 billion in 2017-18 to $4.5 billion in 2021-22.

Research by the independent Parliamentary Budget Office shows that under the current Coalition Government, Federal grants will halve over the next four years from 0.4 per cent of the national GDP, to 0.2 per cent.

The truth is that this ATM Government’s failure to invest in infrastructure is threatening the liveability of our cities.

The Infrastructure Australia report also calls on more collaborative governance structures across the three tiers of government, meaningful community engagement and evidence-based decision making to guide investment in cities.

These principles underpin Labor’s City Partnerships policy, which was announced in July this year and would replace the ATM Government’s weak, politicised City Deals.

Labor’s City Partnerships program would ensure a bottom-up model, acknowledging that local communities and their elected representatives need to be central players in decision-making about their local priorities and strategic vision.

Currently, there are no clear guidelines about how City Deals work and no mechanism for independent oversight to evaluate their effectiveness.

Labor would 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.

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 in areas like sustainability and smart technology.

Labor would also establish an expert panel to update strategic planning guidelines for cities and, in consultation with the Minister, develop guidelines for City Partnerships including a focus on benefits to the economy.

Federal Labor is serious about ensuring our cities are productive, sustainable and liveable places for everyone and is committed to collaborating with communities and the three tiers of government to deliver this.