26 October, 2022
The October 2022 Federal Budget is a cautious one, with some wins for Australia’s growth areas and a housing proposal that raises many questions.
The Government is focusing on five key areas: paying interest on debt (the biggest cost in the entire budget), aged care, defence, health care and the NDIS. The overwhelming theme of the government briefing sessions attended by NGAA CEO, Bronwen Clark, was the need for responsible and transparent processes. The Albanese government’s stated commitment to transparency is good news for the NGAA and other advocacy groups, as is the commitment rebuild the public service and rely less on consultants.
Budget wins for Growth Areas
We are pleased to see Budget commitments that align with our Budget Submission and policy platform:
Education: 20,000 extra university places for students from disadvantaged areas, Childcare Subsidy and the Youth Engagement Strategy
This is a big win for NGAA members with $10.5 million for a new Youth Engagement Model including establishing an Office for Youth, ongoing funding for Australia’s national youth peak – the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition, issue-based youth advisory groups and the development of a Youth Engagement Strategy.
Infrastructure: As expected, there is a refocus of infrastructure commitments on major projects. In coming days, MPs will announce smaller local projects which have secured funding with hopefully some positive news for NGAA members.
Funding continues for the Western Sydney City Deal, the South East Queensland City Deal received a major boost (related to the 2032 Brisbane Olympics) but there is no further mention of the North and West Melbourne City Deal in the budget papers.
The Housing Accord – to build one million new well-located homes over five years from 2024 – has the potential to transform Australia’s cities and suburbs. But this scheme also raises questions for outer urban growth areas.
While this will provide much-needed housing, NGAA Members are concerned by the scale of the program, having already experienced 600,000 new builds in the last decade and seeing the lack of Federal and State commitment to the infrastructure and services the people living in those houses need.
More than ever, the Housing Accord will require national coordination. We will reiterate our calls for a Minister for Growth Areas to use this opportunity to build the world’s best new suburbs.
We had a clear purpose for our recent trip to Canberra for the 2023 Parliamentary Showcase: to elevate the challenges faced by growth areas onto the federal agenda, foster networking opportunities for members, and gain deeper insights into the dynamics of their communities.
The National Growth Areas Alliance (NGAA) wants to set the record straight in response to statements made by Chris Richardson on ABC’s Q&A program last night, stating that outer metro councils have already been saying “yes” and doing the heavy lifting on housing supply for the last 30 years. However, solving the current housing crisis is not the responsibility of local government alone.Read more
The NGAA visited Canberra last week for the 2023 Parliamentary showcase. Federal Minister for Infrastructure, the Hon. Catherine King MP, attended and addressed attendees, which included Mayors, Councillors and senior staff from NGAA member councils. It was a valuable networking opportunity as the event was also attended by federal ministers who represent the growth areas our members are from.Read more
Reliable mobile phone coverage is not just a matter of convenience; it is a fundamental necessity for communities. In an age where connectivity is integral to our daily lives, we are advocating for a proactive approach to mobile infrastructure planning, ensuring that all Australians, regardless of their location, have access to consistent and reliable phone reception.Read more