Jun 13, 2016

Turnbull has no plan for our cities

Malcolm Turnbull has today shown he has no serious plan to promote the productivity, sustainability and liveability of Australian cities.

Mr Turnbull today finally implied he would match Labor’s commitment of

$100 million towards the construction of a new rugby league stadium in Townsville.

But in attempting to link this copycat commitment to his indistinct plan about so-called City Deals, Mr Turnbull has confirmed his policy cupboard is bare when it comes to a genuine, integrated plan for better cities.

Yet he has made his stadium commitment conditional on striking a deal with the Queensland Government and Townsville City Council on broader issues, including town planning.

This will only delay the project and shows he has not even bothered to look at what is proposed.

The proposal, which has been developed by the Townsville City Council and local businesses, envisages the stadium as a catalyst for a revitalisation of central Townsville.

It includes exciting investments in other sports and recreation as well as commercial, residential and tourism development.

Mr Turnbull’s announcement didn’t tell us how it would be financed, the responsibilities of the different levels of government, and any private sector involvement.

For months Mr Turnbull has posed for photographs of himself riding on trains, trams and buses in order to portray himself as an expert on urban policy.

But despite initially appointing a Minister for Cities, this year Mr Turnbull downgraded the role to that of a Parliamentary Secretary.

Only a Shorten Labor Government can be trusted to improve productivity and sustainability in Australian cities with clear plans to invest in more public transport and better roads.

A Shorten Labor Government will also collaborate with other levels of government on genuine city planning that takes into account housing affordability, housing density and urban design.