City planning and management needs to step up to meet the growing population: Property Council of Australia

Reaching the 25 million population mark is a significant milestone in Australia’s evolution, and should be a call for governments to step up their efforts in planning, investing and managing for a growing nation according to the Property Council.

While Australia’s cities are growing fast – three quarters of our population growth is occurring in just our four largest cities – so are many other international cities and we need to learn lessons of how to grow cities successfully.

“Population growth, including immigration, has been an essential part of the Australian story and has delivered real economic and social benefits, contributing to the development of a modern, confident and globally connected nation,” said Ken Morrison, Chief Executive of the Property Council of Australia.

“Population growth in itself doesn’t produce bad planning. Bad planning produces bad planning.

“The critical issue is how we plan, invest and manage our cities as they change, creating the infrastructure and services to support this growth while sustaining the quality of life and opportunities that are a hallmark of the Australian experience.

“We face a clear choice between good growth, supported by the good planning, better governance frameworks and more investment in infrastructure, or bad growth which will come from ad hoc decisions made for the short term and poor investment decisions,” Mr Morrison said.

Research released by the Property Council recently showed that Australia’s major cities risked heading towards a low amenity, low liveability future unless all levels of government, business and the community work together to rethink and refresh how we plan, build and manage our urban areas.

The research showed that Australian cities have many unique strengths and are internationally highly regarded, but they are not well equipped to face the challenges of the global ‘metropolitan century’ compared to many of their peers.

“As other countries have shown, urban growth can be positively managed to deliver significant economic and social benefits. With the right policies and mindset, a growing Australia can a catalyst for a successful and prosperous future instead of something to be feared,” Mr Morrison said.

The proposed key design features that Australia’s cities will need in order to manage the urban growth cycle and become great Australian cities:

From this, two sets of recommendations are set out: the first are to deepen and expand promising developments and initiatives in Australia in order that they fulfil their potential over the longer term. The second are to foster new tools and innovations, based on international practices, that have not yet been developed in Australian cities.

Build momentum to expand and deepen promising current developments

  1.  Build the evidence base and make a business case for cities and infrastructure
  2. Make City Deals permanent
  3. Provide metropolitan leadership, governance and planning tools
  4. Create integrated transport authorities
  5. Strike infrastructure and growth compacts
  6. Establish precinct partnerships and management

Foster new innovations and tools 

  1. Bring together local government combinations
  2. Undertake reforms in the housing market
  3. Enhance infrastructure funding and finance
  4. Drive the metropolitan and innovation economy
  5. Foster compelling public leadership, wider civic engagement, and a proactive business community
  6. Connect Australia’s powerhouses

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