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Property Council comment on ALP cities statement

The Property Council of Australia has welcomed Federal Labor’s strong commitment to a national focus on cities, but said City Deals built around city-shaping infrastructure needed to be continued and deepened.

Ken Morrison, Chief Executive of the Property Council, said Labor’s cities platform outlined by the Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development, Anthony Albanese, in his address to the Sydney Institute was a welcome recommitment to the importance of cities in national policy making.

This includes the re-establishment of the Major Cities Unit with a fresh mandate to advise on Labor’s ‘City Partnerships’ and the establishment of an expert panel with a wide ambit to create city plan principles and advise government on their implementation.

“Anthony Albanese has recommitted Federal Labor to a strong role in shaping Australia’s fast growing cities and announced a refresh of its agenda in government,” said Mr Morrison.

“Under the Opposition’s plan, cities would have the same robust governance as Infrastructure Australia provides for infrastructure, a very welcome move.

“Labor’s policy includes an emphasis on evidence-based policy making, maximising the productivity uplift from investment and recognising the additional revenue that will flow to governments when cities are planned well.

“What is not clear from the speech is whether locally-driven, bottom-up ‘City Partnerships’ would mean an end to robust growth plans anchored around investment in city-shaping infrastructure.

“Australia’s major cities are growing and changing. Creating great Australian cities of the future means shaping them around high capacity infrastructure.

“With three-quarters of Australia’s population growth occurring in just our four largest cities, the way these cities cope with rapid change is a national economic priority. This requires leadership and investment from the top, as well as engagement and initiative from the bottom.

“City Deals built around city-shaping infrastructure have been an emerging policy tool that need to be strengthened and deepened.

“Labor’s approach to working with local government is sensible, but the reality is it will require robust incentives to make it happen and get local government fully and properly engaged in the process.

“We’d like to better understand how Labor’s City Partnerships will build on the work already done through the current City Deals framework which have broken some important ground in bringing different levels of government together around a common objective.

“If Australia is to thrive in the ‘metropolitan century’ we need to get much better at planning and managing the growth of our cities, so step change improvements in policy and governance approaches are critical,” Mr Morrison said.

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