A new report released by Infrastructure Australia today has warned that essential infrastructure and services such as public transport, roads, hospitals and schools are failing to keep pace with the delivery of new housing in growth areas of our largest cities.
The newest release in Infrastructure Australia’s Reform Series, Planning Liveable Cities, recommends substantial planning, funding and governance reforms to ensure Australia’s governments are appropriately coordinating the delivery of new housing in growing cities with the additional infrastructure and services needed to support it.
In commenting on the findings of the report, Infrastructure Australia’s Executive Director of Policy and Research, Peter Colacino said that Australia’s largest cities are growing and changing at a rate not seen for more than 50 years.
“This brings economic, social and cultural opportunities for our cities, but if they are to remain great places to live, we need to balance growth in a way that works for the community,” Mr Colacino said.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, between 2017 and 2047, Australia’s population is predicted to increase by over 11 million people, with roughly 80 per cent of this growth set to occur in Australia’s five largest cities – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
Mr Colacino said that as Australia’s population grows, it is crucial that we improve the way we plan for housing and infrastructure in our cities.
“Ensuring we have the right planning, funding and governance models in place will help the community see the value in increasing densities in appropriate areas and re-establish trust between communities and governments,” he said.
Now more than ever, Australia’s long-term prosperity is linked to the performance of our cities. Cities are increasingly the generators of the nation’s wealth and where a growing number of people choose to live, and businesses choose to locate. Between 2000–01 and 2015–16, even with the mining boom, 70 per cent of Australia’s economic growth occurred in our capital cities according to the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.
Trends indicate this contribution will continue to increase over coming decades.
Mr Colacino said that if we are to manage our projected population growth and prepare for the future, governments will need to ensure the delivery of new housing occurs alongside upgrades to the infrastructure and services required to make a place ‘liveable’ – from essential utilities to transport, schools, hospitals, parks and other community facilities.
“This will require better collaboration across levels of government and a greater focus on strategic-level planning,” he stated.
Planning Liveable Cities provides nine recommendations to governments and the industry to successfully plan for the future of our cites.
The recommendations range from endorsing the Federal Government to establish a process to better strategically plan for Australia’s future population, to stating that all levels of government should work with the building and construction industry to make better use of existing infrastructure assets.
The full report can be found online here.