‘Building up and moving out’ puts cities at the centre of national policy
The ‘Building Up and Moving Out’ report by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities makes a number of sensible recommendations which recognise the central role of Australian cities as drivers of our national economic prosperity.
The report correctly calls out that our changing demographics and economy are causing profound changes in our urban and regional landscapes.
“Cities are fundamental to Australia’s future. In the most urbanised country in the world, policy makers must have a strong focus on our changing cities, big and small,” said Ken Morrison, Chief Executive of the Property Council of Australia.
“The Committee’s report includes welcome recognition that planning for the successful growth of our cities should be a national policy priority involving all levels of Government.,”
“We need a national plan for the long term that supports the growth of our cities while ensuring they are great places for Australians to live and work.
“While we won’t agree with every detailed finding in this report, this is a very substantial body of work and the Committee is to be congratulated for bringing this together,” Mr Morrison said.
Mr Morrison said he was pleased to see a strong focus metropolitan governance in the context of the national plan of settlement proposed by the report.
“Australia’s fragmented governance for its major cities was highlighted in our own Creating Great Australian Cities research as a major weakness.
“Recommendations for an accelerated City Deals program, stronger Commonwealth engagement in master planning at a national level, and the formation of city commissions – along the lines of the Greater Sydney Commission – would all help contribute to a stronger governance framework for our cities,” Mr Morrison said.
“We welcome the recognition that agglomeration is an economic driver in our cities and that they should grow denser as their populations increase, however this must be balanced with investment in high quality, high amenity living.
“The Committee also calls for a major focus on infrastructure planning and delivery to ensure our large cities are able to continue to grow, and to underpin the prosperity of our regional and smaller capital cities.
“The report makes a number of general claims around value capture. Governments need to be careful in treating value capture as a ‘magic pudding’ answer to all our infrastructure needs, which it certainly is not.
“The Committee’s recommendation for the creation of a national institute for cities research deserves further consideration given the scope and challenges of designing good policy that will shape our cities for generations to come,” Mr Morrison said.
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