Productivity Commission releases final report investigating planning; calls for reform

THE Productivity Commission yesterday released its final report, 'Performance Benchmarking of Australian Business Regulation: Planning, Zoning and Development Assessments', which identifies wide-ranging differences in the ways all levels of government plan and zone land uses and assess development proposals.

The report, commissioned by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), compared the regulatory frameworks, land supply processes, developer contributions, assessment and referral processes, and the impacts of planning and zoning on competition in retail markets of the jurisdictions.  Governance, community engagement and transparency and accountability were also explored.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

Population strategy released for Australia

THE Australian Government has released the nation's first ever dedicated sustainable population strategy, setting out the framework for a sustainable Australia.

The strategy, 'Sustainable Australia - Sustainable Communities', outlines key directions to help ensure future 'population change' is compatible with the economic, environmental and social wellbeing of the nation. It was launched by Sustainability, Population and Communities Minister Tony Burke last Friday.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

Federal Budget 2011-12 provides support to cities; infrastructure

THE Federal Budget 2011-12, released last Tuesday, provides $181.4 million for a range of practical measures that aim to promote more productive, sustainable and liveable cities. It also increases funding for Infrastructure Australia by nearly 40 per cent to $36 million over four years.

The Budget measures coincided with the release of the key principles for a national urban policy for Australia, 'Our Cities, Our Future - a National Urban Policy Framework', which articulates the Australian Government's objectives and priorities for the nation's 18 major cities.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

Australian Government announces transport infrastructure commitments in 2011-12 Budget

THE Australian Government has allocated additional resources to renew Australia's infrastructure and to improve the way cities work in the 2011-12 Budget.

The 2011-12 Budget, released last Tuesday, allocates $954.3 million in new funding and accelerated investment for the Nation Building Program, in addition to $394.4 million for projects under the Regional Infrastructure Fund.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

Federal Budget commits $4.3bn to regional Australia

THE 2011-12 Federal Budget, released by the Australian Government on Tuesday, has committed $4.3 billion to regional Australia.

Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government, Simon Crean, said the 2011-12 Federal Budget was further proof that the government was working across all levels of government to support regional Australia.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

Groups welcome changes to FBT in Federal Budget 2011-12

AIMING to improve the fairness and integrity of the tax system, the Federal Budget 2011-12 will result in changes to the fringe benefits tax (FBT), removing the incentive for people to drive their car further in order to obtain a larger tax concession.

The National Transport Commission (NTC) welcomed the announcement, with NTC Chief Executive Nick Dimopoulos saying that the NTC had been calling for a review of vehicle-related fringe benefit tax concessions.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

Dwelling approvals rise in March 2011

NEW statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show that the total number of dwellings approved in March 2011 increased by 9.1 per cent, in seasonally adjusted terms, after falling by 5.3 per cent in February.

Dwelling approvals increased for the month of March in Victoria (26.8 per cent), New South Wales (8.5 per cent), Tasmania (5.8 per cent) and Western Australia (3.4 per cent). South Australia (-22.5 per cent) and Queensland (-15.0 per cent) experienced decreases in seasonally adjusted terms.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

New building standards commence to improve accessibility for people with disability

THE Australian Government this week announced the commencement of new building accessibility standards to make all new and upgraded public buildings in Australia accessible to people with a disability.

The Disability (Access to Buildings – Premises) Standards 2010 (Premises Standards) is part of the government's National Disability Strategy, a ten year reform plan that aims to ensure that people with disability have the same opportunities as other Australians.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

Spending on roads eclipses rail investment by at least four times: ACF

GOVERNMENTS across Australia are spending at least four times more on building roads and bridges than on public transport infrastructure, according to a new analysis by the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF).

According to the analysis, over the past decade, all levels of governments spent 4.3 times more on construction of public roads and bridges than on public railway construction.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

Residential land values rise, sale volumes fall in December quarter 2010

Residential land values continued to rise while land sale volumes have decreased in the December 2010 quarter, according to a new report released by the Housing Industry Association (HIA) and property information provider

The Residential Land Report found the volume of land sales fell sharply in the December 2010 quarter, reaching the lowest level in a decade. Sales were down by 40.4 per cent compared to the same quarter in 2009.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

National Tourism Planning Guide released

A NATIONAL Tourism Planning Guide that provides a resource and practical advice to assist planners in their consideration of tourism development was released last week by Tourism Ministers during their Ministerial Council meeting in Darwin.

The Guide aims to help planners streamline tourism investment and was funded through a TQUAL grant to the Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF).

  • Written by Urbanalyst

Coalition would strengthen role of Infrastructure Australia

A COALITION Government would support Infrastructure Australia and reform and improve the delivery of infrastructure in Australia, according to a joint statement released last week by Federal Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott and Leader of the Nationals, Warren Truss.

In the statement, the Coalition said that Australia needs a rational coherent plan for the delivery of the nation's long-term infrastructure needs.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

Population caps would cause enormous suffering: Urban Taskforce

REAL estate prices would decline, city productivity would reduce and income would fall if the Australian Government uses its forthcoming sustainable population strategy to place a cap on capital cities at their current population, according to a new report released by Urban Taskforce this week.

The report, titled 'People Power' and prepared by property economists at MacroPlan, aims to stimulate debate and responds to references by the government that the "carrying capacity" of some of Australia's regions may have been reached.

  • Written by Urbanalyst

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