A NUMBER of projects across Australia have been awarded funding as part of the Australian Government's $20 million Liveable Cities program, which aims to improve the quality of life in capital cities and major regional cities.
According to Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese, the Liveable Cities program addresses the objectives of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) cities reform agenda and the Federal Labor Government's National Urban Policy by supporting urban renewal and strategic urban development.
The rollout of funding for the projects was applauded by the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA), who called it a welcome start to a program aimed at creating better communities.
PIA President Dyan Currie described the Federal backing of the various planning projects as excellent and called on the government to make such programs ongoing.
"The real value of good planning will be evident if these projects are not just funded but evaluated in the medium and long term as well," Ms Currie said.
"It's pleasing to see a Federal Government support good planning in this way consistent with the national urban design protocol which is commitment to best practice urban design in Australia," Ms Currie said.
The Liveable Cities program was unveiled in the Federal Government's 2011-12 Budget. It will provide initial funding of $20 million over two years and offers up to $500,000 for innovative planning and design initiatives and up to $4 million for demonstration projects.
LIVEABLE CITIES PROJECTS (as of April/May 2012)
A study that will look at ways to make the outer suburbs of major cities more productive, sustainable and liveable will receive $335,300 in funding from the Liveable Cities program.
This project, Practical Design for Resilient Outer Suburbs, will be led by Whittlesea City Council in Victoria and will include the Town of Kwinana in Western Australia, Penrith City Council in NSW, Mount Barker District Council in South Australia and Ipswich City Council in Queensland.
The study will look specifically at:
- How to ensure development is well-designed, vibrant and people-friendly;
- How to make sure these areas are more walkable and less car dependent;
- How to better integrate public transport with new housing developments;
- How to improve job opportunities in these outer areas so people do not face long daily commutes; and
- How to encourage greater economic and environmental sustainability.
The Greater Launceston Plan, a broad regional transport strategy to extend right across the Greater Launceston area, will receive $320,000.
The funding will allow the region to plan for the future, taking into account future public transport, water and land-use needs, the best placement of new employment and industrial precincts, population growth, demographic change and community aspirations.
$200,000 will fund a masterplan to guide the redevelopment of the former Kingston High School site, which will include an assessment of the best land use and development options, an urban design plan, a transport strategy and economic feasibility.
The work will be undertaken by the Kingborough Council in partnership with the Tasmanian Government.
A plan to overhaul Hobart's bus service to make it more functional, coordinated and user-friendly will receive $125,000.
This new plan will focus on building Hobart's public transport capacity in line with the Federal Government's National Urban Policy.
The work will be undertaken by the Hobart City Council in partnership with Metro Tasmania, TasBus and Tasmania's Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources,
The Australian Government is providing $110,000 for the Tasmanian Department of Economic Development to undertake a major economic study into the potential and future use of the Macquarie Point Railyards.
Later this year, the freight and transport services that operate from the Railyards will relocate to the Brighton Transport Hub, providing the potential for urban renewal and development on the 8.4 hectare site.
The study will look specifically at:
- The economic potential for the site;
- Unlocking its cultural and tourism potential including examining ways to expand Hobart's role as an international gateway to the Antarctic;
- The potential for affordable housing; and
- Ensuring that existing commercial and private property markets are supported and not compromised by new investment activity.
The Australian Government will $250,000 for Darwin City Council and the Northern Territory Government to develop a masterplan to help reshape the Darwin CBD.
The Darwin CBD Master Plan will help guide new roads and transport links to support Darwin's unique tropical lifestyle while improving its productivity and liveability.
'Vibrant Adelaide: Energising the City', a plan to rejuvenate central Adelaide, received $1 million in funding.
In the first of a series of projects across the city, Hindley Street West will be rejuvenated as part of an upgrade of the University of South Australia's precinct.
Campbelltown City Council's plans to revitalise the Magill Urban Village in Adelaide will be receive funding of $100,000.
Campbelltown City Council and the adjoining City of Burnside will develop a masterplan to coordinate future development and improve the overall liveability of the Magill Urban Village.
Port Adelaide, SA
The Federal Government will partner with the City of Port Adelaide Council to develop a plan to revitalise the Black Diamond Square to bring more tourists, locals, night time activity and economic growth to the area.
Liveable Cities funding ($229,841) will help to create the detailed plans necessary to redesign the Square, stimulate investment and improve public amenities in Port Adelaide.
$3.75 million has been allocated to the Western Australian Land Authority for the Rockingham Strategic Regional Centre Renewal (Sustainable Development Demonstration Project), which aims to change perceptions of higher density living by building a medium-density, medium-rise, 30-unit residential building in the centre of Rockingham on Goddard St.
The Australian Government will provide $444,400 towards a masterplan for the Cockburn Central West site, which will be the basis for a sporting, education and recreational precinct for the region.
It will bring together local partners including the Fremantle Football Club, the University of Notre Dame and community and commercial operators.
The plan is likely to include a gym, elite training indoor/outdoor community sporting hall, AFL ovals, university health science facilities and conference and community spaces.
The Australian Government is providing $30,000 for the City of Melville to undertake planning to rejuvenate Willagee and prepare it for future growth.
The Willagee Structure Plan will focus on developing a range of affordable housing, particularly for low income households, and will identify the best location for shops and other commercial activities.
The West Australian Department of Housing is also a partner in the project.
The Southbank Cultural Precinct Redevelopment Blueprint, to be created in conjunction with Arts Victoria and the Department of Premier and Cabinet, will receive $400,000 from the Liveable Cities program.
The blueprint aims to better integrate the precinct's commercial, cultural and residential parts and make the fast growing area more productive, sustainable and liveable.
Specifically, it aims to encourage:
- Greater work opportunities for the 11,000 local residents and the 20,000 that will live there by 2030;
- More commercial activity to halt the area's declining work population;
- Better pedestrian access;
- Better public transport;
- Reduced dependence on cars; and
- The linking of significant cultural facilities such as the Melbourne Recital Centre and the Melbourne Theatre Company which now sit in isolation from one another.
It is a joint initiative between the Federal Government, the Victorian Government, the City of Melbourne and the University of Melbourne.
Boroondara, Frankston, Yarra Ranges, Greater Geelong, Victoria
The Australian Government is contributing $1.2 million towards a Pedestrian Network Demonstration, which aims to encourage more people to walk between local destinations, rather than take the car.
The project involves identifying key routes for pedestrians and then improving those routes so that they are safer and more appealing to use.
The funding will be provided to four local council areas: the City of Boroondara, Frankston City Council, Shire of Yarra Ranges and City of Greater Geelong.
The Australian Government is providing funding of $125,000 to help plan for a rail station in the Toolern precinct in Melbourne's west.
The planning is being undertaken by Melton Shire Council so that residents moving into the region can have an alternative to car transport to get around.
Tarneit West, Victoria
A masterplan by Wyndham City Council for a 113 hectare site on Sayers Road, Tarneit West will receive a grant of $448,500.
The masterplan will look at:
- How to support sustainable development with good urban design;
- How to maximise the number of local jobs so that people moving to the region do not face long daily commutes; and
- Reducing car dependence.
Wyndham City Council will develop the masterplan in partnership with RMIT University Centre for Design, the Green Building Council of Australia, the Growth Areas Authority, the Natural Resources Conservation League and the Victorian Department of Transport.
The ACT Government will receive $500,000 for a major planning project that aims to unlock the potential of the city's CBD and better integrate it with public transport, residential buildings, surrounding parklands and ANU and CIT campuses.
The masterplan, Realising the Capital in the City, which will become a blueprint to encourage people to visit, live and invest in the CBD.
The plan will also look at the feasibility of introducing a rapid transit system down Northbourne Avenue and the redevelopment of public housing immediately to the east and north of the CBD.
The Australian Government will partner with Albury City Council and the City of Wodonga and $300,000 towards a cross border bicycle network to service the large and growing numbers of cyclists in the region and serve as a demonstration project for other Australian cities.
The project will link the CBDs and railway precincts and Murray River Trail via the Albury CBD, with upgrades to existing on-road cycle paths and re-decking of the 'Wodonga Stock Bridge'. It will also include the installation of storage and bicycle parking.
The City of Sydney Green Square Town Centre Trigeneration project, Australia's first large scale low carbon trigeneration energy network, will receive $3.75 million.
The project aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by around 40,000 tonnes a year and help the City of Sydney reach its target of a 70 percent reduction in emissions by 2030.
A separate cycling and walking link will be built between the University of Western Sydney, housing developments in the area and key employment precincts of the Parramatta city centre.
This joint project, the Parramatta River City Renewal project, was the first successful project to be announced under the government's Liveable Cities program. It is expected to be completed by mid-2015
The Australian Government has committed up to $3.75 million, Parramatta City Council has committed $4.4 million and the NSW Government has committed $7.9 million to the Parramatta River City Renewal project.
Maitland City Council - Hunter Region - Strategic Infrastructure Plan ($500,000) for targeted delivery of infrastructure in the Hunter Valley to lift productivity in the region.
Two projects will be funded in Logan: the Logan Central Affordable Housing Demonstration Project; and Meadowbrook Knowledge Precinct Project.
The Logan Central Affordable Housing Demonstration Project will be a new apartment complex to cater for the area's growing number of low-income retirees, newly arrived migrants and local hospital staff.
The project is part of Logan City Council's longer term plans to rejuvenate Logan Central by attracting a wider-range of affordable housing options, as well as jobs, public transport, retail facilities and recreational activities, to the area.
The Meadowbrook Knowledge Precinct encompasses Griffith University, Logan Hospital, Metropolitan South Institute of TAFE campuses, local bus and rail hubs as well as private developments along Loganlea Road.
The project aims to create an urban environment where new businesses will want to set up and where people will want to live, work and raise a family.
Sunshine Coast, Queensland
Sunshine Coast Regional Council will receive $500,000 to undertake a feasibility study and business case into a light rail link between Caloundra to Maroochydore.
The study will look at:
- Whether a light rail link would improve the productivity, sustainability and liveability of the region;
- How such a system could attract private sector investment; and
- The location and route of the link.
The feasibility study will build on preliminary assessment work being conducted by the Sunshine Coast Regional Council into the viability of the project.
Townsville Smart Link, an urban design framework around a defined transport corridor linking the Townsville CBD to the Douglas Knowledge Precinct, will receive $300,000.
(Article updated 29 May 2012).