Government gets on the front foot with cities

Step by step, the government is establishing the building blocks for better cities, says the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).

Assistant Minister for Cities Angus Taylor has announced the federal government’s commitment to a National Cities Performance Framework to deliver more productive, resilient, sustainable and liveable communities across Australia.

In an address to the Committee for Sydney last night, the Minister said: “An important way we can improve the performance of our cities is by measuring their progress on key indicators – population growth, land use, society, the economy and the environment”.

The GBCA’s Chief Executive Officer Romilly Madew applauds the government’s announcement.

“As Minister Taylor said in his speech, if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. The National Cities Performance Framework will be an essential ingredient to ensure we get maximum value from governments’ investments in infrastructure and urban renewal across Australia,” Ms Madew says.

“While governments are routinely criticised for the high cost of infrastructure and poor cost-benefit ratios that inform investment decisions, it is time we move beyond these simplistic measures of performance. Instead, we need to understand how we are making our communities better places to live.”

Ms Madew says this framework can support more sophisticated public debate about the value and benefit of multi-generational investments in our cities.

“No one would run a business without understanding how to measure its success, but it seems our cities have developed without such a standard. This must change,” Ms Madew says.

“The collection and reporting of this valuable data is not about comparing one city with another, or creating league tables. Instead, it is about celebrating our strengths, and identifying opportunities to get the most out of our future decisions.”

“This presents a great opportunity to develop a comprehensive evidence base for policy development across all levels of government.

“The Turnbull Government’s commitment to work across industry and with experts to deliver the framework recognises that the task of delivering our cities is monumental – and must be shared.

Assistant Minister Taylor also announced the formation of a new Cities Reference Group to assist with inquiries on City Deals and to publish feedback on the Smart Cities Plan launched earlier in the year.

“The GBCA looks forward to sharing our expertise through the Cities Reference Group, and continuing to work closely with the Turnbull Government on the delivery of the National Cities Performance Framework and City Deals across Australia in the months ahead,” Ms Madew concludes.