Dec 11, 2015

No need to reinvent the wheel on urban policy

Labor welcomes the Prime Minister’s adoption of the previous Labor Government’s requirement for integrated planning in major cities.

In 2009, the States and Territories agreed to produce capital city plans so the Commonwealth could be satisfied that major road and rail projects proposed by states fitted in with the overall direction of urban development, including proper integration of roads and railways.

Those plans were then completed with the leadership of an expert panel led by former Labor federal minister Brian Howe AO and former Sydney Lord Mayor Lucy Turnbull AO.

The panel also included respected planning experts like Professor Sue Holliday from the University of New South Wales.

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel here. It would be far wiser to build on work that has already been done.

It is unfortunate that Mr Turnbull was part of a government that put a stop to integrated transport planning.

Indeed, it was the Abbott Government that cancelled funding for all public transport projects not under construction and allocated funding to projects such as the East West Link, Westconnex, and Perth Freight Link which had not undertaken proper business cases.

The Turnbull Government has continued to punish Victoria for opposing the East West Link that would have produced 45 cents of benefit for every dollar of investment.

In Perth, it continues to advocate for the Perth Freight Link project even though the Barnett Government don’t have a full route identified and despite the fact it takes freight to the existing port, which is already at capacity, ignoring the work needed for the Outer Harbour freight precinct.

The Commonwealth should re-establish the Major Cities Unit and ensure that any projects funded are part of integrated transport and economic development plans for capital cities, as well as our major cities.