Australian Government establishes new Urban Policy Forum

THE Australian Government last week announced the establishment of a new Urban Policy Forum, calling it another step towards making the nation's biggest cities and regional centres even more productive, sustainable and liveable.

The Forum brings together experts from across all levels of government as well as industry and academia and its central role will be to advise the government on the implementation of the National Urban Policy, released in May last year.

Making the announcement during a speech in Sydney, Infrastructure and Transport Minister, Anthony Albanese, said he was expecting the new Forum to be an "ideas generator."

"It will also be a conduit to the broader urban sector—so that forum members can promote dialogue between the sector, the community and the Government," Mr Albanese said.

The Urban Design Forum, comprising 27 members, will meet at least twice a year and will be chaired by the Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure and Transport, Mike Mrdak.

Members include the former Premier of South Australia, Mike Rann, former Deputy Prime Minister, Brian Howe, current head of the Australian Local Government Association, Genia McCaffery, and the Deputy Chief Executive of the Business Council of Australia, Maria Tarrant.

Other members include Kirsty Kelly, CEO of the Planning Institute of Australia, Peter Verwer, CEO of the Property Council of Australia, John Thwaites, former Deputy Premier of Victoria, Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney and Lisa Scaffidi, Lord Mayor of Perth.

The Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) welcomed the establishment of the new forum, saying it will mean better implementation of planning policy and more productive and sustainable Australian cities.

"The Forum is made up of experienced professionals from a number of areas so the Federal Government will get the best stakeholder advice possible when determining the implementation of Urban Policy," said PIA President, Dyan Currie.

Ms Currie said the establishment of the Forum is another indication the Australian Government is committed to better planned and more productive Australian cities.

The Property Council of Australia called the Forum's establishment a welcome move to address liveability and productivity in Australia's cities.

Property Council National Policy Director, Ken Morrison, said improving the design of the nation's cities "has a big part to play in Australia's future productivity and prosperity."

"The formation of the Urban Policy Forum is a positive step in this journey," Mr Morrison said.


The Urban Policy Forum is an advisory body that has been established by the Australian Government to help achieve more productive, sustainable and liveable cities in Australia.


The objectives of the Urban Policy Forum are to:

  • Advise the Commonwealth and the Minister on the implementation of the National Urban Policy;
  • Identify innovative approaches to achieving the goals and objectives of the National Urban Policy;
  • Facilitate cross-sector consultation, collaboration and partnerships to support successful implementation of initiatives in the National Urban Policy; and
  • Serve as a stakeholder forum to effectively support and complement other Government work requiring a coherent and integrated approach within cities.

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