National urban policy essential for Australia's transport system: NTC

THE National Transport Commission (NTC) has strongly supported the need for a national urban policy in its submission to the Australian Government's 'Our Cities' discussion paper.

In its submission, the NTC states that "productivity has been at a standstill or declining for some key indicators for cities," citing that urban congestion is forecast to cost Australia around $20 billion in 2020.

The NTC submits that a national urban policy is essential to overcome such impediments to the economy and to improve living standards.

NTC Chief Executive, Nick Dimopoulos, said that developing a national urban policy is essential to addressing the complex challenges facing Australia's transport system.

"Urban areas have a key role to play in Australia's economy, but transport productivity has been at a standstill or declining in many of our cities," said Mr Dimopoulos.

"The sustainability and efficiency of our transport system is also facing a number of significant challenges such as population growth, congestion, accessibility, energy security and climate change."

The NTC calls for a 'whole of transport' solution to transport challenges that takes into account all modes and all users.

The NTC submission highlights key issues within urban policy related to regulatory and operational reform, including:

  • Ensuring pricing signals appropriately influence the supply and demand of using our transport infrastructure;
  • The integration of land-use planning and transport policies;
  • Establishing government structures that support integrated transport systems; and
  • Removing barriers in the wider take-up of emerging technologies (such as in-vehicle technologies and electric cars).

The 'Our Cities' discussion paper was released by the Australian Government last December, with the aim of framing the Government's policy approach to cities as the basis for a National Urban Policy to be released this year. Submissions closed at 5pm on 1 March 2011.

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