The recently released ‘Building Up and Moving Out’ report by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities points out how Australia’s cities need to be better planned, better connected, more compact, more diverse and more sustainable.
The report says cities will need to engage with, and hopefully lead, global best practice in technology, urban form, accessibility and sustainability.
Some of the issues the report addresses include the high level issues of population growth and the distribution of population, employment and services; the sustainability of current trends; and the solutions needed to ensure that our cities and regions remain sustainable, accessible and liveable.
It makes a number of recommendations which recognise the central role of Australian cities as drivers of our national economic prosperity.
“This requires vision and leadership from government at all levels, and the development of systems of urban and regional governance well-adapted to the challenges of the future,” says the report.
Ken Morrison, Chief Executive of the Property Council of Australia said 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,” he said.
“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.”
Mr Morrison said a national plan is needed for the long term that supports the growth of our cities while ensuring they are great places for Australians to live and work.
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.”