Australia

Australia's population growth rate slows to 1.4 per cent

AUSTRALIA'S annual population growth rate slowed to 1.4 per cent for the year ending March 2011, according to preliminary figures released yesterday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

While the growth rate is equal to the average annual population growth rate for the past 30 years, it is down from a peak growth rate of 2.2 per cent in the year ending March 2009 and is the lowest growth since the year ending March 2006.

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Discussion paper released on local government constitutional recognition

An independent expert panel examining the level of support for constitutional recognition of local government and possible options for achieving such recognition has released a discussion paper and called for public submissions.

The Panel, led by the Honourable James Spigelman AC QC, was appointed by the Australian Government in August to progress the government's commitment of recognising local government in the Australian Constitution.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

Australians for Affordable Housing to challenge governments on affordability

A COALITION of over 60 national housing, welfare and community sector organisations, Australians for Affordable Housing, aims to challenge Australian governments at all levels to address housing affordability.

Releasing its analysis of the "dire state" of the Australian housing market, the newly formed coalition finds that housing costs are both the biggest item in household budgets and the fastest increasing cost, having increased 55 per cent over the last six years.

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Australian Government announces $150m for regional projects

THE Australian Government will invest $150 million in 35 projects worth almost $418 million, as part of Round One of the $1 billion Regional Development Australia Fund (RDAF), a five-year regional funding program.

Regional Australia Minister Simon Crean today said a range of projects will receive funding, including community buildings, cultural and tourist projects, training centres and regional airport upgrades.

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Building approvals record modest rise in July 2011

FOLLOWING three consecutive months of falls, the total number of dwellings approved rose 1.0 per cent in July 2011, in seasonally adjusted terms, according to new statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Dwelling approvals increased for the month of July in New South Wales (5.4 per cent) but decreased in Tasmania (-26.3 per cent), South Australia (-8.8 per cent), Victoria (-3.1 per cent), Queensland (-1.8 per cent) and Western Australia (-1.4 per cent) in seasonally adjusted terms.

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Reforms announced for EPBC Act

THE Australian Government today announced significant reforms to Australia's national environmental law aiming to better protect the nation's environment and keep pace with economic growth.

Environment Minister Tony Burke outlined the first major overhaul of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999 since it was created over a decade ago.

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'True Value of Rail' report released by ARA

THE Australasian Railway Association last week released a report urging governments to provide greater investment in rail infrastructure to unlock billions of dollars annually in lost economic productivity, urban congestion and traffic accident costs.

The study, by Deloitte Access Economics and released by the Australasian Railway Association, quantifies the economic, social and environmental benefits of rail investment in Australia.

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Local councils don't deserve constitutional recognition: Urban Taskforce

PROPERTY development industry group, Urban Taskforce, this week said the Australian Government should not be advancing plans to recognise local councils in the Australian Constitution while councils "are busily contributing to the nation's housing undersupply."

The call follows the government's announcement this week that it has appointed members of an independent expert panel established to progress the recognition of local government in the Australian Constitution.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

Panel appointed on constitutional recognition of local government

THE Australian Government today appointed the members of an independent expert panel that will progress the recognition of local government in the Australian Constitution.

The panel, to be led by former Chief Justice of the NSW Supreme Court, the Honourable James Spigelman, will comprise representatives from a range of backgrounds and areas of expertise.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

Planning restricts retail industry: Productivity Commission

THE Productivity Commission this week released a draft report in relation to its inquiry into the implications of globalisation for the retail industry and the appropriateness of current policy settings in this environment.

While also covering aspects such as workplace practices, taxation arrangements and other regulatory burdens, the effect of planning systems on the retail industry forms a significant component of the draft report.

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First stage of high speed rail study released

THE Australian Government today released the first stage of the implementation study investigating a High Speed Rail link (HSR) connecting Australia's east coast.

The HSR is expected to cost between $61 billion and $108 billion, with over 1,600 kilometres of standard-gauge double track, connecting Brisbane, Newcastle, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.

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June 2011 building approvals fall for third consecutive month

THE total number of dwellings approved fell 3.5 per cent in June 2011, in seasonally adjusted terms, following a revised fall of 6.3 per cent in May, according to the latest data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Dwelling approvals decreased for the month of June in Queensland (-18.6 per cent), South Australia (-12.2 per cent), Tasmania (-8.1 per cent) and Western Australia (-3.0 per cent) in seasonally adjusted terms.

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Corporate sector called to step up to improve road safety

AUSTRALIA'S prospects of further cutting the number of deaths and injuries on the national road network would be greatly enhanced by businesses taking action on road safety within and beyond their workplaces, according to the National Transport Commission (NTC).

The NTC this week released a discussion paper, 'A corporate approach to road safety', which explores how the existing corporate commitment to workplace safety can contribute to achieving Australia's National Road Safety Strategy targets.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

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