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Our cities are the future in the 'metropolitan century'

Reaching the 25 million population milestone should be the catalyst for the creation of productive, vibrant and liveable cities that will underpin Australia’s future prosperity.

“Australia’s future rests overwhelmingly with our cities and their ability to become high amenity, high liveability engines of our economy,” said Ken Morrison, Chief Executive of the Property Council of Australia.

“Our population is growing strongly and most of that growth is occurring in our cities. We need to redouble our focus on policies that support investment, planning and collaboration to create the great Australian cities of the future.

“Population targets, decentralisation policies or adjusting immigration rates can’t allow us to take our eyes off the main game which must be our ability to create great cities for current and future generations of Australians.

“The growth of our cities is part of an international trend for cities to be a magnet for people, business, investment and economic and cultural activity.

“We’re not alone in needing to plan, invest and manage for change as the worldwide trends towards urbanisation gathers pace in this ‘metropolitan century’,” Mr Morrison said.

The drivers of urban growth were set out in the ‘Creating Great Australian Cities’ research published by the Property Council earlier this year.

It highlighted the growing economic importance of cities around the world, and set out a series of principles and recommendations based on the experience of other fast growing cities of similar size to Australia’s.  These cities are capturing an expanding share of business, immigration, visitors, talent and capital flow.

The report found that Australian cities had strengths, including their economic performance investment attraction, higher education and natural environment but they were performing poorly in several key areas critical to success in the metropolitan century, including issues such as transport congestion, fragmented systems of governance, infrastructure investment and limited institutions at a metropolitan scale to manage growth.

“Our cities are at the heart of Australia’s economic, social and cultural life, attracting people, investment and services that drive innovation, creativity and enterprise,” Mr Morrison said.

“Any population policy that doesn’t strengthen Australia’s ability to create great cities of the future is completely missing the mark.

“Our cities are already a great competitive advantage for Australia, bringing together the people, services and infrastructure to drive our economic competitiveness.

“We need to keep investing in the right infrastructure, plan for a growing future and put in place smarter systems of metropolitan governance to capture the full potential of the metropolitan century while sustaining the quality of life and access to services that Australians value.

“We need to take on both the challenges and opportunities of the ‘metropolitan century’ and not run away from the reality that growing cities can be successful cities and great places for people to live and work.

“With the right planning, policies and ambition, we can create truly great cities for a growing Australia,” Mr Morrison said.

Media contact:  Matt Francis | M 0467 777 220 |  E mfrancis@propertycouncil.com.au

The Creating Great Australian Cities research and reports is available at www.propertycouncil.com.au/greatcities