Review to identify new ways to meet local infrastructure needs

THE Australian Government last week announced that it will conduct a review of infrastructure financing to identify new ways of unlocking investment dollars to meet local infrastructure needs.

Announcing the review at the first meeting of the Local Government Ministers Forum in Canberra last week, Local Government Minister Simon Crean said it was important to focus efforts on the areas of greatest need to ensure communities could access opportunities and make every dollar count.

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Reforms needed to get the housing we want: Grattan Institute

A NEW report released this week by the Grattan Institute has called for the creation of Neighbourhood Development Corporations to help address the mismatch between the housing Australians say they want and the housing they have.

The new report, 'Getting the housing we want', follows an earlier Grattan report, 'The housing we'd choose', which showed that contrary to assumptions, Australians want a mixture of housing choices and that the housing people chose was a much more varied mix than cities currently provide.

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$200m available for second round of regional development fund

A FURTHER $200 million is now available for Round Two of the $1 billion Regional Development Australia Fund (RDAF), Regional Australia Minister Simon Crean announced yesterday.

The opening of Round Two follows the announcement of $150 million of funding for 35 projects in September by the Australian Government, as part of Round One of the RDAF, a five-year regional funding program.

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Dwelling approvals reverse by 13.6 per cent in September 2011

FOLLOWING a revised gain of 10.7 per cent in August, the number of dwellings approved fell 13.6 per cent in September 2011, according to new figures released by the Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Dwelling approvals decreased for the month of September in New South Wales (-32.2 per cent), Victoria (-13.6 per cent), Queensland (-12.7 per cent), Tasmania (-4.8 per cent) and Western Australia (-1.5 per cent), in seasonally adjusted terms.

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National Transport Commission releases 2010-11 annual report

THE National Transport Commission (NTC) this week released its annual report for the 2010-11 financial year, with NTC Chief Executive Nick Dimopoulos saying the report highlights an exciting and productive twelve months at the NTC.

"Over the past year we have focused on consistently delivering on one of our most ambitious work programs to date," said Mr Dimopoulos.

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Tax changes to encourage infrastructure investment

THE Australian Government is set to remove tax disincentives to encourage more private investment in nationally-significant infrastructure projects.

On Wednesday, Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten released the discussion paper on the 2011-12 Budget measure to introduce new rules for tax losses that are attributable to designated infrastructure projects.

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'We need to get the planning mechanisms right': Albanese

FEDERAL Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Anthony Albanese, yesterday launched the State of Australian Cities 2011 report at the State of the Commonwealth Cities Symposium in Brisbane.

The 2011 report card builds on last year's inaugural publication and aims to provide comprehensive analysis of the progress and performance of the nation's 18 biggest cities in terms of productivity, sustainability and liveability.

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State of Australian Cities 2011 released

FEDERAL Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Anthony Albanese, yesterday launched the State of Australian Cities 2011 report, as part of the Australian Government's commitment to report on the progress of major cities towards improved productivity, sustainability and liveability.

According to the report, residents of Australia's major cities are using less electricity, leaving their car in the garage more often in favour of catching public transport, producing less household waste and raising children who are staying at home until an older age.

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Planners seek to place planning on CHOGM agenda

PLANNERS from more than ten Commonwealth countries including South Africa, Tonga, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand will meet in Brisbane this week to push for planning to be placed on the agenda of the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

An initiative of the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) and the Commonwealth Association of Planners (CAP), the State of Commonwealth Cities Symposium will seek to ensure that human settlements are a priority at CHOGM in Perth on October 28.

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$100m up for grabs to support housing in regional Australia

LOCAL councils in regional centres across Australia are being invited to apply for Federal Government funding to support more affordable housing in their communities.

Population and Communities Minister Tony Burke last week announced that applications for funding are now open under the government's Building Better Regional Cities program.

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Building approvals rise 11.4 per cent in August 2011

FOLLOWING a modest rise of 1.8 per cent in July, dwelling approvals rose 11.4 per cent in August 2011, in seasonally adjusted terms, according to new figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Dwelling approvals increased for the month of August in New South Wales (45.2 per cent), Queensland (19.7 per cent), Tasmania (17.2 per cent), Victoria (7.3 per cent) and Western Australia (5.5 per cent), in seasonally adjusted terms.  However, South Australia recorded a decrease (-4.1 per cent).

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Housing priorities are changing: Grattan Institute sttudy

THE housing priorities of Australians are changing, with more people valuing aspects of where they live than a big garden or a large block, according to a study released last month by the Grattan Institute, titled 'What Matters Most? Housing preferences across the Australian population'.

As an extension to Grattan's recent report, 'The Housing We'd Choose', the new study examines the responses of more than 700 residents in Sydney and Melbourne who were asked about their housing and location priorities.

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Growth areas on city fringes at a significant disadvantage: study

GROWTH areas on the fringe of Australia's capital cities are significantly disadvantaged, with residents and workers suffering socially and economically, according to a paper published in the September edition of Australian Planner.

The paper, authored by Andrew McDougall and Vigneshwar Maharaj and titled 'Closing gaps on the urban fringe of Australian capital cities: an investment worth making', claims fully integrated plans to provide jobs and services to these growth areas, and linking them to other areas of the metropolis, are rare.

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