Cities Policy is good economic policy

Today’s Cities Summit and Smart Cities Policy are important steps in helping to remove the barriers that are holding back our cities from fulfilling their economic and social potential.

“Good cities policy is good economic policy, and the Government has taken a big step in turning talk into meaningful and substantive policy,” said Ken Morrison, Chief Executive of the Property Council of Australia.

“We welcome the Commonwealth's City Deal approach to lifting productivity and removing the barriers to housing supply to improve affordability and benefit homebuyers.

“The Prime Minister is right – housing supply and our planning regimes are critical determents in dealing with housing affordability and the productivity of our cities.

“Australia is currently running a housing deficit of 200,000 homes and we need new and sustained supply, so that we can tilt the affordability balance.

“Earlier today, the Property Council released a report by Deloitte Access Economics that highlighted the how reforming our planning systems using modest ‘national competition payments’ could generate $3 billion in economic uplift and create 3,000 additional full-time jobs.

 

UK Style City Deals

Mr Morrison welcomed the commitment of the Government to pursue “UK-style City Deals”.

"City Deals means governments investing in a growth plan for a region, not just a single project.

“The aim is to get all levels of government and each government department to line up behind a single growth plan for a region.

“For a City Deal to be a real deal, they need to be applied to the places we most need them, target economic growth and bring all levels of government together.

“We have advocated for UK City Deals for some time and, while there is still a lot of work to do, it is very pleasing to see this model adopted by the Government.

“With a bipartisan approach on the importance of cities, we are optimistic that we will see the first City Deals negotiated after the coming election.

 

Value Capture

Mr Morrison said the Government is continuing to sponsor a value capture debate without doing the hard work of defining what value capture means.

"The Government’s position on value capture remains vague and without definition.

“Value capture is not a magic pudding and the risks of damaging the economy with naive approaches are very real.

“Does the Federal Government propose introducing new taxes, or just encouraging state governments to do so? At the moment we have no idea.

“There are models that can work and we would welcome the opportunity collaborate further on those.

"We need to learn from the experience of the Carr Government in NSW which ignored the warnings and held back Sydney's housing supply by five years by its own version of ‘value capture’ with big land release taxes, all of which had to be wound back.

“We again urge the Federal Government to do the hard work on value capture and don't repeat these mistakes.”