AUSTRALIAN Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull last week released the Smart Cities Plan, which aims to deliver jobs closer to homes, more affordable housing, better transport connections and healthy environments.
Mr Turnbull said the plan draws on the Australian Government's coordination capacity and the strength of its balance sheet to get the best infrastructure projects off the ground.
The Smart Cities Plan includes:
- The establishment of an infrastructure financing unit to work closely with the private sector on innovative financing solutions; and
- Committing $50 million to accelerate planning and development works on major infrastructure projects to develop business cases and investment options.
Minister for Major Projects Paul Fletcher said strong partnerships with state and territory governments would underpin successful infrastructure proposals.
"We need the best projects to deliver maximum value for taxpayers and ensure that Commonwealth investment achieves the right outcomes for our cities," Mr Fletcher said.
The plan was welcomed by the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA), with CEO Kirsty Kelly describing it as pleasing that planning for cities is now firmly on the national agenda with all sides of politics.
"Planners have long been advocating smart city principals, championing that our urban areas be configured in a way that supports liveability and sustainability," Ms Kelly said.
However, Ms Kelly expressed disappointment in the lack of direction on population growth and settlement policy.
"The government remains silent on the need for a national population settlement policy to guide the nature and location of our population growth. We need to know where growth is to be directed in order to adequately plan for and service a growing population," Ms Kelly said.
"This is critical context in planning for the growth of our cities, and until the government addresses this issue, our cities will be planning in the dark."
More information about the Smart Cities Plan is available from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet's Cities website at <https://cities.dpmc.gov.au/>. The feedback period ends on 24 June 2016.