The Federal Government has conceded that a national vision for our cities and regions is important, but says it has no plans to develop a national plan of settlement.
Instead, it is working with state, territory, and local governments on other initiatives to support city and regional growth – including City Deals, NBN roll-out, and faster rail infrastructure.
The comments came in the Government’s long-awaited response to Building Up and Moving Out, a report by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities stemming from its inquiry into the Australian Government’s role in the development of cities.
The bipartisan committee unanimously recommended the Australian Government develop a national plan of settlement underpinned by a long-term, broad-scale vision and a high level of integrated planning.
The committee made 37 recommendations in all, with chairman John Alexander writing that “business-as-usual approaches to community infrastructure provision no longer represent best practice and are ill-equipped to deliver prosperous and liveable communities”.
In its response, the Government agreed to one recommendation: that it “ensure that urban and regional infrastructure is developed giving consideration to potential settlement patterns”.
Sixteen recommendations were agreed to “in principle” and 17 were “noted”. The Government rejected three recommendations:
- to produce an effective cost of living index, including housing, at the scale of local communities to highlight the economic and lifestyle advantages of living in regional communities;
- to investigate the provision of spatially and industry targeted tax incentives to drive strategic secondary economic agglomeration in major cities; and
- to establish, in conjunction with State and Territory Governments, a national training program for public sector infrastructure procurement.
It concluded: “The Australian Government will continue to promote a coordinated national approach to ensure both our major cities, smaller cities and regions are liveable, sustainable and well placed to meet the challenges of future growth”.