Australia

Review of Commonwealth marine reserves begins

ALMOST two years since the declaration of the world's largest network of marine reserves, the Australian Government this month announced the members and terms of reference for the Expert Scientific Panel and Bioregional Advisory Panels as part of an independent review of Commonwealth marine reserves.

Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt said the review will examine the management arrangements for the five new marine reserves "rushed through" by the previous government in November 2012, which provided for the protection of 2.3 million square kilometres of ocean environment.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

First issues paper released to inform the Reform of the Federation White Paper

HOUSING and transport infrastructure are two areas where the roles and responsibilities between the different levels of governments could be clearer, according to an Issues Paper released this month to help inform the White Paper on the Reform of the Federation.

The first of five issues papers to be released, 'Issues Paper 1 - A Federation for Our Future' provides a high-level overview of the key issues that the White Paper will consider, such as the allocation of roles and responsibilities within the Federation, federal financial relations, governance arrangements and performance reporting.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

Dwelling approvals increase by 2.5 per cent in July

FOLLOWING a downwardly revised decrease of 3.8 per cent in June, the number of new dwellings approved in July was up by 2.5 per cent, in seasonally adjusted terms, according to the latest building approvals data released last week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

A total of 16,318 dwellings were approved in July, compared to seasonally adjusted totals of 15,921 in June and 16,550 in May. When compared to the same month in 2013, the number of dwellings approved in July 2014 was up by 9.4 per cent, in seasonally adjusted terms.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

Infrastructure Australia's board announced

INFRASTRUCTURE Australia's transition to its new role as an independent statutory authority is beginning to take shape, with the Australian Government last week announcing the authority's board members.

It follows the passing of the Infrastructure Australia Amendment Bill 2013 by Parliament in June this year, which amended the Infrastructure Australia Act 2008 to allow the infrastructure body to operate with enhanced status as an independent statutory authority, governed by an independent Board, and made changes to key functions of the authority.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

Australian Government releases proposed project appraisal framework for public comment

FEDERAL Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, Jamie Briggs, last week released a proposed project appraisal framework for transport infrastructure projects, which was prepared by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE), in consultation with state and territory governments.

Mr Briggs said that for the first time, state and territory governments have agreed to consult on the development of a more sophisticated and consistent framework to assess and evaluate major infrastructure projects.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

Infrastructure identified as key to the future of Northern Australia

MAJOR infrastructure projects, including significant upgrades to roads, new and improved rail links and new dams and improvements to existing water infrastructure, have been identified as one of the key drivers of the future development of Northern Australia.

In its final report, which was tabled in Parliament last week, the Joint Select Committee on Northern Australia also recommends the establishment of a Department of Northern Australian Development and the creation of a 20-year strategy for the staged development of capital infrastructure in Northern Australia.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

Grocon and Meriton partner with Livable Housing Australia

DEVELOPMENT giants Grocon and Meriton Group have signed on to become partners with Livable Housing Australia (LHA), which was established in 2011 to transform the way homes are designed and built through design guidelines, certification, advocacy and education.

Grocon and Meriton join a growing list of corporate partners that includes the Australian Institute of Architects, Property Council of Australia, Lend Lease, Master Builders Australia and Stockland. Other supporters include the Building Designers Association of Victoria, the Victorian Building Authority, Housing ACT and the Green Building Council of Australia.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

Dwelling approvals decrease by 5.0 per cent in June

FOLLOWING an upwardly revised increase of 10.3 per cent in May, the number of new dwellings approved in June was down by 5.0 per cent, in seasonally adjusted terms, according to the latest building approvals data released last week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

A total of 15,659 dwellings were approved in June, compared to seasonally adjusted totals of 16,490 in May and 14,949 in April. When compared to the same month in 2013, the number of dwellings approved in June 2014 was up by 16.0 per cent, in seasonally adjusted terms.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

New Grattan report maps the Australian economy by location of economic activity

EIGHTY per cent of the dollar value of all goods and services in Australia is produced on just 0.2 per cent of the nation's land mass, nearly all of it in cities, according to a new Grattan Institute report released this month that maps the Australian economy by the location of economic activity.

The report, titled 'Mapping Australia's economy: cities as engines of prosperity', finds that the combined central business districts of Sydney and Melbourne alone – 7.1 square kilometres – generate nearly 10 per cent of the value of goods and services produced in all of Australia, three times that produced by the agricultural sector.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

Productivity Commission releases final report on public infrastructure

THERE is an urgent need to comprehensively overhaul processes for assessing and developing public infrastructure projects, according to the Productivity Commission's final report on public infrastructure that was released last week.

Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey asked the Productivity Commission to undertake a comprehensive review of public infrastructure in November last year, with terms of reference that included identifying ways to reduce infrastructure costs and address barriers to private sector financing.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

Dwelling approvals in May increase by 9.9 per cent

AFTER three consecutive months of declines, including a revised fall of 5.8 per cent in April, the number of new dwellings approved in May increased by 9.9 per cent, in seasonally adjusted terms, according to the latest building approvals data released last week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

A total of 16,425 dwellings were approved in May, compared to seasonally adjusted totals of 14,949 in April and 15,874 in March. When compared to the same month in 2013, the number of dwellings approved in May 2014 was up by 14.3 per cent, in seasonally adjusted terms.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

Infrastructure Australia Amendment Bill 2013 passes Parliament

LEGISLATION that aims to strengthen the role of Infrastructure Australia as an independent, transparent and expert advisory body through a change to its governance structure and through better clarification of its functions was last week passed by Australian Parliament.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the passing of the Infrastructure Australia Amendment Bill 2013 will allow the infrastructure body to operate with enhanced status as an independent statutory authority, governed by an independent Board.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

ALGA launches 2014-15 State of the Regions report

A WIDENING gap between the prosperity of Australia's regions, the need for strategic infrastructure investment and an uncertain outlook for youth employment in many regions are among the key findings of the 2014-15 State of the Regions Report, titled 'Regional Development in a Globalised Economy'.

The report, which was produced by National Economics for the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) and is the sixteenth in a series, provides a longitudinal study into the prospects of Australia's regions and their development.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

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