Australia

Dwelling approvals rise 6.4 per cent in August 2012

THE number of dwellings approved rose 6.4 per cent in August 2012, in seasonally adjusted terms, following a fall of 21.2 per cent in the previous month, according to the latest building approvals figures released last week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Dwelling approvals increased in Victoria (30.2 per cent), Western Australia (16.1 per cent) and Queensland (1.8 per cent) but decreased in New South Wales (-18.3 per cent), South Australia (-1.0 per cent) and Tasmania (-0.9 per cent), in seasonally adjusted terms.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

New CRC to investigate ways to use and reuse Australia's water resources

A NEW Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) will work with more than 70 research, industry and government partners to find new and better ways to use and reuse Australia's water resources.

Officially launching the CRC in Melbourne last week, Senator Don Farrell, Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, said its research will focus on modelling and analysing society's behaviour in relation to water usage.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

Report released following audit of first round of Regional Development Australia Fund

REGIONAL Development Minister Simon Crean last week welcomed the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) report on the round one rollout of the Australian Government's $1 billion Regional Development Australia Fund (RDAF).

The fund, which is a nationally competitive, merit-based grants program that aims to support Australia's regional areas, has currently awarded nearly $350 million in program funding to 81 projects across Australia after two application rounds. There more funding rounds are proposed.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

New campaign to create livable and accessible homes

PARLIAMENTARY Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Jan McLucas this week highlighted the benefits of designing homes that are more accessible for people with disability at the official launch of Livable Housing Australia at Parliament House, Canberra.

Livable Housing Australia (LHA) is a not-for-profit organisation established to encourage Australians constructing new homes to comply with design standards to meet the changing needs of home occupants across their lifetime.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

ALGA calls for establishment of Parliamentary Committee to progress constitutional recognition

PRESIDENT of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), Felicity-ann Lewis has called on the Australian Government to establish a Parliamentary Committee as the next step towards a referendum on the constitutional recognition of local government.

Cr Lewis, who was this month selected as President of the ALGA following the resignation of Genia McCaffery, said the only way to protect direct federal funding for community services and infrastructure is to have local government recognised in the Australian Constitution.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

New ACIF forecasts outline upcoming opportunities and threats for building and construction industry

THE next 12 months are shaping up to be critical in how the local building and construction industry copes with global and domestic changes, according to the latest industry forecasts by the Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF).

The forecasts, which are prepared by economic modellers and overseen by an industry panel of analysts and researchers, provide rolling ten year forecasts of demand across residential, non-residential and engineering construction in Australia.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

Grattan Institute report calls for new suburbs to be flexible and adaptable

A NEW report from the Grattan Institute's Cities program, 'Tomorrow's suburbs: building flexible neighbourhoods', argues that greenfield suburbs must prepare to meet the needs of future generations, not just today's residents.

Launching the report last week, Cities Program Director at the Grattan Institute, Jane-Frances Kelly, said that within a generation, these new developments will have residents with very different profiles and needs from those of today.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

$1bn in infrastructure projects added to National Infrastructure Construction Schedule

FEDERAL Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese last week said that according to the National Infrastructure Construction Schedule (NICS), more than $1 billion in infrastructure projects has been added to Australia's investment pipeline in just three months.

The NICS, which was launched by the Australian Government in May, provides the infrastructure sector with a database of all known and forecast infrastructure investment by all three levels of government.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

Cities of Playford and Melton receive funding under Australian Government's Suburban Jobs Program

AUSTRALIAN Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Tony Burke, this month announced funding for the City of Playford and the City of Melton under the Australian Government's Suburban Jobs Program.

The $45 million Program, which was announced as a measure under the Sustainable Australia - Sustainable Communities Strategy in 2011, aims to provide for increased local employment opportunities in the suburbs of major capital cities that are subject to growth pressures.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

National Land Freight Strategy released

FEDERAL Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese last week released the nation's first ever National Land Freight Strategy, a long term blueprint for a streamlined, integrated and multimodal transport system.

According to the Minister, the Strategy provides a framework for a coordinated, national freight network of the nation's ports and the road and rail that link them and seeks to establish mechanisms to develop a long term pipeline of infrastructure projects.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

Australian Government to review Local Government Financial Assistance Grants program

AUSTRALIAN Local Government Minister Simon Crean has announced a review into the Local Government Financial Assistance Grants program to be conducted by the Commonwealth Grants Commission.

The grants, which are currently provided by the Australian Government under the Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995, have totalled more than $37 billion since 1974.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

COAG Housing Supply and Affordability Reform Report released

FEDERAL Housing and Homelessness Minister Brendan O'Connor welcomed the release of a new report which recommends ways to enhance housing supply and affordability.

The Housing Supply and Affordability Reform (HSAR) report, released at the end of August by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), recommends measures for all levels of government to ensure more efficient use of existing land and housing stock and reduce unnecessary costs and charges for developers and home buyers.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

AAH releases 4-point plan to address housing affordability issues

AUSTRALIANS for Affordable Housing (AAH), a coalition of national housing, welfare and community sector organisations, has proposed a four-point plan to address affordable housing in Australia that would see an increase in affordable housing supply, improve rent assistance and set benchmarks for all levels of government.

The plan, released at the end of August prior to the meeting of the COAG Select Committee on Housing and Homelessness in Perth and titled  'Addressing Housing Affordability: A four point plan for the next five years' , aims to deliver 30,000 new affordable housing units each year and lift 250,000 households out of housing stress over five years.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

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