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Cities front and centre

While some of us have been back at our desks for a week or two, the first working day after Australia Day has traditionally been seen as the day when summer holidays are over.

It’s the day when traffic gets back to normal and the trains and buses fill up again. It’s not getting easier, Infrastructure Australia estimates that the costs of congestion will continue to worsen.

With three quarters of our national income generated in our cities, any threat to the liveability of our cities has a direct cost on our Australia’s productivity. Even if you don’t live in a major city, you’d be surprised at the ways you pay for their inefficiencies. Infrastructure Australia estimates that by 2031, congestion will cost Australians $50 billion a year. It’s a cost with no return.

Last week, Environment Minister Greg Hunt said we needed more jobs where people lived and more residences where people worked. The penny is dropping with policy makers – planning is a way we can drive productivity growth in Australia – and this always results in more growth and jobs.

As the largest sector in the economy, we are an essential part of any reforms to driving productivity and competition. The states should be given the incentives (with carrots accompanied by sticks) that will make our cities more productive.

For some time we have been working on this and you will be hearing more about our proposals in the near future.

And a hearty congratulations to Glenn Byres, promoted this week into the new role of Chief of Policy and Housing as part of a Property Council restructure. He’ll do a fantastic job.