Leading urban planning expert, Professor Barbara Norman, yesterday called for the reinstatement of the State of Australian Cities report citing its immense value to all levels of government.
Speaking at a public hearing for the Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities’ inquiry into the Australian Government’s role in the development of cities, Professor Norman said:
The State of Australian Cities report – that series – provided valuable data over time. That seems to have come to a halt and I think that’s a real pity because that’s the sort of urban data that a national government can provide to states and local governments over the long term and is valuable.
The Coalition’s abandonment of the State of Australian Cities report represents a missed opportunity for Australia to lead the way on best practice and innovative use of national data.
Professor Norman said the United Kingdom had even worked out how to make money from their data. She said:
The UK Government has set up something called Geovation…What they’re doing is not only providing a service to sub national governments, or data over the long term but also providing the opportunity for grants with innovative partnerships with the private sector to use that data for infrastructure planning, for all sort of purposes.
The annual State of Australian Cities report was established by the former Labor Government.
It produced a comprehensive analysis of statistics and trends about the demographic and planning challenges facing major Australian cities.
The Coalition Government abolished the report despite the fact it was downloaded three million times when published by the former Labor Government and considered to be a tremendous success and great resource by industry and policy experts.
The Coalition should reinstate the State of Australian Cites report so that policy makers and governments can have the data they need for evidence-based decision making.