Australian Government launches Climate Commission

THE Australian Government this month announced the establishment of an independent Climate Commission, with Professor Tim Flannery appointed as Chief Commissioner.

Making the announcement, Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Greg Combet, said the Climate Commission would provide expert advice and information on climate change to the Australian community.

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Victorian Regional Rail Link among projects to be 're-profiled' to pay for floods

FEDERAL Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Anthony Albanese, this week outlined the remaining infrastructure projects that will have their funding deferred to help cover the cost of flood reconstruction.

It follows the Australian Government's announcement late last month that it would cut or defer spending and impose a 'flood levy' to pay the estimated $5.6 billion cost of rebuilding flood-affected regions in Australia.

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UDIA issues 'damning' assessment of land supply in Australia's cities

THE peak industry body for the urban development industry, the Urban Development Institute of Australia, this week released its annual UDIA State of the Land Report, providing a critical assessment of the land supply situation in Australia.

The report, the third to be produced by the UDIA, examines the supply of new residential lots in the major capital cities of Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide).

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AHURI releases report examining household impacts of gentrification

THE Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) last month released a new report examining the household impacts of neighbourhood change and gentrification in Sydney and Melbourne.

The report, authored by Rowland Atkinson, Maryann Wulff, Margaret Reynolds and Angela Spinney, aims "to offer insights into the way that socio-economic migration in Australia's cities is affecting the position of low-income households."

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Australian High Speed Rail Study begins

FEDERAL Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese today announced that the first stage of the feasibility study commissioned to determine the economic benefits and financial viability of a high speed rail network along Australia's east coast has commenced.

A consortia, led by global consultants AECOM Australia, will identify possible route and station options, providing the basis for determining indicative transit times and construction costs.

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Australian Government to defer infrastructure projects to pay for flood rebuilding

The Australian Government last week announced its response to the challenge of rebuilding flood-affected regions across Australia, with the cost expected to total $5.6 billion.

To fund the reconstruction, two-thirds of the required funding will be delivered through spending cuts and deferral of infrastructure projects, while the other third will be provided by a one-year levy payable by all tax payers, except low-income earners and those directly affected by the flooding.

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ALGA calls for investment in local infrastructure

THE rebuilding of infrastructure in flood-ravaged areas should not overshadow the need for ongoing funding in the Federal Budget for local roads, active transport, and community infrastructure to address Australia's growing infrastructure backlog, according to the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA).

Announcing the release of the ALGA 2011-12 Budget submission last week, President Genia McCafferey said that local government is at the "forefront of the recovery".

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Land sales fall to lowest in a decade

Land sale volumes are the lowest they have been in a decade, and prices are rising, making housing less affordable, according to a residential land report released this week by the Housing Industry Association and RPData.

The Residential Land Report found the volume of land sales fell sharply in the September 2010 quarter to be down 57 per cent on the same quarter in 2009.

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Australian Government releases National Ports Strategy

The Australian Government has released the first ever National Ports Strategy for Australia, saying it will provide a new foundation for higher productivity and faster economic growth across Australia by improving the design, planning and performance of ports.

The strategy was launched by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese yesterday at Kwinana Port in Western Australia.

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2010: reflection and comment

WITH just a few days until the end of 2010, Urbanalyst will reach a milestone in its first full calendar year of operation. Its humble beginnings saw a handful of visitors each week but this number has rapidly risen to a few thousand visitors a month and continues to trend upwards.

Urbanalyst began with an aim to provide comprehensive coverage of urban planning, development and transport news and issues. While this has been no small challenge, I certainly hope that Urbanalyst has made steps towards achieving its aim.

When Urbanalyst first started, the task of creating a 'one-stop-shop' for all things planning seemed relatively simple and straightforward. Planning is a relatively small field. Planning doesn't make a huge media impact. People aren't that interested in planning.

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Population strategy issues paper released

POPULATION Minister Tony Burke last week released the Sustainable Population Strategy Issues Paper and invited comment and feedback from all Australians.

The Issues Paper brings together the major issues identified in reports prepared by the three independent Sustainable Population Strategy Advisory Panels established by the Minister in July. The reports focus on demographic change and liveability, productivity and prosperity and sustainable development.

"Changes in Australia's population will affect us all, in our work, in our communities and in our built and natural environments," said Mr Burke.

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New coastal maps identify future impacts of climate change in Australia

THE Australian Government has released new maps that identify the future impacts of climate change on some coastal regions in Australia. The government hopes the new maps will assist the community to prepare for sea level rise.

Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Greg Combet, said the maps identifying low-lying areas in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Hunter and Central Coast and South East Queensland demonstrated that it was essential to engage in early planning for the unavoidable impacts of climate change.

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Industry groups unite to support national urban policy

KEY industry, professional and academic groups have united to support Australia's cities and the development of a new national urban policy.

In a half-page statement in the Weekend Australian, titled 'Cities are everyone's business', the groups sought to dispel the idea that "one side 'supports' suburban sprawl and the other density", calling it media reporting that "betrays the complexity of our cities and the diversity of our communities… [and] denies our cities their great potential to change for the better."

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