While Australia’s major cities remain among the world’s most liveable with bicycle use at the highest level in 40 years, changing work-force patterns pose future challenges for transport infrastructure planning.
Those are a few of the trends detailed in the State of Australian Cities 2013 report which I’ve released today. Compiled by the Major Cities Unit within my Department, this latest ‘report card’ builds on the previous three, providing an even more comprehensive analysis of the progress and performance of the nation’s 18 biggest cities.
The first three editions of this publication generated enormous interest and have been downloaded more than three million times.
A summary of the key findings is attached, with the full State of Australian Cities 2013 now available at: www.infrastructure.gov.au
As well as giving us a better understanding of how our cities work, the report also identifies the specific initiatives of local councils and state planning authorities which are proving effective at promoting more productive, sustainable and liveable urban communities.
Today I am also releasing a second report, Walking, Riding and Access to Public Transport which sets out the simple steps that governments and employers can take to increase the proportion of people walking and riding for short trips, and to connect to public transport hubs. For its part, the Federal Government has agreed that all future urban road projects must include a safe, separated cycle way, where practical.
As one of the most urbanised societies in the world, and with our cities generating 80 per cent of our national income, our continuing prosperity largely depends on the productivity, sustainability and liveability of our cities.
When it comes to infrastructure, there is no starker difference between Federal Labor and the Coalition than our respective approaches to cities and the importance placed on investing in public transport.
Federal Labor has a plan to keep our cities moving, one that involves investing in both road AND rail infrastructure. That’s why we’ve doubled the roads budget and committed more to urban public transport infrastructure than all our predecessors since Federation combined. Right now, major projects are underway in Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Sydney and on the Gold Coast.
Contrast this to the Opposition which simply believes the challenges confronting our cities and their residents are someone else’s problems to fix.
The Opposition says urban congestion is “a big economic problem”, which is “costing our economy a lot of money”. But at the same time, Tony Abbott has ruled out providing Federal funding to help fix the nation’s public transport infrastructure, one of the most effective ways of reducing congestion and preventing traffic gridlock.
We need better cities for the people who live in them, for the people who work in them and for the people who depend on them. Only Federal Labor has the track record and investment to make our cities work better.
Australia’s eighteen major cities are:
- Gold Coast-Tweed;
- Sunshine Coast;