May 8, 2015

Time for national leadership on cities

Tony Abbott must use Tuesday’s Budget to deliver policies that boost the productivity, sustainability and liveability of our cities.

Mr Abbott must also use the Budget as an opportunity to consider the growing problem of urban congestion in our major cities.

Since taking office, Mr Abbott has completely withdrawn from urban policy, leaving cities around Australia in the lurch.

On his first day of becoming Prime Minister, Mr Abbott abolished the Major Cities Unit and despite early promises to produce the 2014 State of Australian Cities report, the latest version remains to be seen.

The Coalition has also withdrawn billions of dollars of investment in urban rail, which had been allocated by the previous Labor Government.

If Mr Abbott continues this way, his prejudice against public transport will seriously impact urban congestion and inhibit national economic productivity and jobs growth.

It will also consign millions of Australians to life in drive-in/drive-out suburbs where there are few jobs and no public transport.

Labor has a commonsense approach.

Labor believes the Commonwealth should work with the states to develop a fully integrated transport system that includes roads and passenger rail.

An elected Labor Government will also ensure there is a Minister for Cities and will reintroduce the Major Cities Unit.

Labor knows we can’t afford to look the other way when 80 per cent of Australians live in our cities.