THE Australian Government last week announced the launch of Australia's first National Cities Performance Framework, which will allow for the progress and performance of the nation's largest cities to be tracked.
The Framework is published on a dashboard at smart-cities.dashboard.gov.au to assist governments, industry and the community to better target cities policy and investments, including through City Deals.
Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, Angus Taylor, said the Framework was about encouraging individual cities to improve outcomes.
"The timing of this is fantastic because we've just got a really comprehensive dataset from the most recent Australian census, which allows us to see the most updated picture of the economic and growth profile of these cities," Assistant Minister Taylor said.
"The 30 minute city metric for instance, is new connectivity data which hasn't been applied before. And we're going to keep adding new data, because we know there's great information coming out of not just the public sector, but the private sector.
"The specific goals, to inform potential future City Deals, will come from these metrics. It's very obvious when you look at each of these cities, what the challenges are that we have to address as a top priority and our City Deals will do exactly that.
"It's not a matter of one city being better than another, this dashboard tells us about the differences in our biggest cities. It tells us that we need policies that customise solutions for individual cities and a national government has to be part of that, just as local governments already are."
The initial focus of the Performance Framework is on Australia's 21 largest cities– each with a population above 80,000. The Framework also includes Western Sydney, recognising the region's national significance and aligned to the area of the Western Sydney City Deal.
The Framework contains 46 indicators, and draws on nationally consistent, comparable and reliable data sets.
Key indicators include:
- 'Jobs accessible in 30 minutes' - access to jobs is a key driver of accessibility and quality of life in our cities. On average across our largest cities, 85.4 per cent of jobs are accessible within 30 minutes by car.
- 'Housing price to income ratio' - a lack of affordable housing can weigh on a city's economic performance and can undermine social cohesion and exacerbate wealth inequality. On average across our largest cities, a median priced dwelling costs 6.2 times the median annual household income.
- 'Access to green space' - accessibility to green space can provide opportunities for recreation and exercise, improve air quality and reduce urban heat island effects. On average, across our largest cities approximately 80 per cent of dwellings in Australia's cities are within 400 metres of green space.
- 'Business creation'- in a dynamic, innovative economy we expect a high rate of business creation. We need this vitality for our cities to thrive in a fast-paced and competitive global environment. Across Australia's largest cities, the average business entry rate is 13.9 per cent per year.
- 'Employment growth' - being in paid work affects the strength of a city's economy and has important implications for a person's economic, social and emotional wellbeing. On average, across our largest cities, employment growth is 2.6 per cent.
- 'Youth unemployment' - as well as an income, people gain a sense of worth from their work and enjoy greater opportunities for social engagement, which enhances both mental and physical wellbeing. On average, the rate of youth unemployment across our largest cities is 11.9 per cent.
Addressing the Cities Reference Group meeting in Canberra last week, Assistant Minister Taylor thanked industry leaders, researchers and non-government organisations for helping to shape the Framework over the past year.
"The creation of the National Cities Performance Framework has involved exhaustive exploration, research and consultation to identify and secure the best city level data sets and indicators we could find," Mr Taylor said.
"This Framework reflects the Australian Government's commitment to open and accessible data sharing."
The Performance Framework is intended to be a living resource to be improved over time through annual updates and three yearly reviews. This will ensure it continues to reflect best available information and provides a strong evidence base to guide new investments and reforms in cities.