NGAA Response to 'Building Up and Moving Out' Report

Momentum is building for meaningful action by the Federal Government to respond to the impact of rapid and sustained population growth, with the release of the Building Up and Moving Out report from the Standing Committee on infrastructure, Transport and Cities.

We welcome the Committee’s report, and, along with the nearly five million people living in Australia’s fast growing outer suburbs, the NGAA is now putting its trust in the Federal Government to act on its recommendations.

There is much in the report that shows the impact that NGAA’s strong, united voice has in Canberra. While the challenges and opportunities each individual Council encounters can feel like local issues, the strength of our policy and advocacy work lies in our ability to show that they are in fact national issues and need a national response.

There is a strong focus on growth areas in the report, calling for collaboration between all levels of government to effectively respond to existing growth challenges and plan for the future.

We particularly welcome the direct acknowledgment of growth area issues we outlined in our submission to the Inquiry on the Australian Government’s role in the Development of Cities, including reference to grants to establish suburban jobs programs, transport connectivity and access to 30-minutes cities, innovative governance models and, importantly, directing infrastructure investment to areas of future population settlement.

We will continue to work hard to hold the Government accountable – implementation needs to start now.


Summary of Recommendations’ alignment with NGAA policy positions

Recommendation 1 – national settlement framework which aligns with our call for a policy position on addressing the differential spatial impacts of rapid population growth.

Recommendation 3 – urban planning which aligns with our calls for polycentric cities, local jobs and equitable access to vital services. The report recommends planning focusing on:

  • accessibility and liveability
  • health and quality of life
  • economic, social and environmental sustainability
  • high quality natural and built environments
  • access to employment
  • a more compact urban form
  • the concept of the 30-minute city

Recommendation 11 – calls for government at all levels to plan for transport connectivity, active transport and network development which is in line with our calls for investment in transport infrastructure to help people get to work or study in a reasonable time.

Recommendation 12 – focussing on freight network development which ties in directly with our emerging advocacy on freight and logistics corridors in growth area,

Recommendation 16 and 17 – calling for better digital infrastructure and the extension of the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program and the Future Ready Incubation Package (in which many of our Members are already leading participants).

Recommendations 22 and 23 – support our research work and calls for an evidence-based approach to infrastructure planning and investment.

Recommendation 27 - recommends that the Australian Government ensure that urban and regional infrastructure is developed giving consideration to potential settlement patterns.  In other words, invest in growth areas where the population has grown and will continue to grow.

Recommendation 28 – strongly reflects NGAA’s long-term advocacy positions, recommending creation of a sustained, coordinated, holistic vision for the development of Australia’s cities and regions, including:

  • A Minister for Cities and National Settlement with a place in Cabinet, with responsibility, amongst other things, for the oversight of a national plan of settlement and housing;
  • The statutory Office of a National Chief Planner, incorporating Infrastructure Australia and the Infrastructure and Project Financing Agency, to provide independent expert advice on urban and regional planning and development;
  • A COAG Cities & Regional Development Ministerial Council involving representation by state and territory treasurers, housing ministers and planning ministers, and local government; and
  • A Cities & Regional Development NGO Roundtable to ensure business and community groups have a direct voice to government on issues involving our cities and regions.

Recommendation 29 – calls for a significant acceleration of the City Deals program in line with our ongoing advocacy

Recommendation 30 – investigation of city commissions, which we are exploring as part of innovative governance models and will explore further with Prof.Greg Clark at this year’s Congress.

Recommendation 32 – is a direct response to our advocacy for suburban jobs, and calls for financial support, in the form of grants, to projects with demonstrated potential to generate significant employment growth in the rapidly expanding, outer suburban communities of Australian cities.

Bronwen Clark, EO 0488 401 257


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