Australian cities under pressure Tuesday, 06 March 2018

Infrastructure Australia has warned the Australian Government about the quality of infrastructure across Australian cities, implying there is a lack of leadership and priorities for the future.

The independent government body has called on the government to establish a consistent framework of incentives to drive the delivery of national benefits for Australia’s cities at the level of project, place and reform, to improve their liveability, productivity and affordability.

This means setting national objectives with structure and accountability by tying funding to clear performance outcomes; something IA believes is essential ahead of the estimated growth of the Australian population to 36 million in the next 30 years.

“With greater national leadership we have the opportunity to structure our infrastructure funding in a way that incentivises the delivery of nation-shaping reforms,” Infrastructure Australia CEO Philip Davies said.

Davies warned that if the Australian Government fails to “anticipate and respond to this growth, the likely results will be declining economic productivity, increasing environmental pressures and a marked reduction in our quality of life”.

Infrastructure Australia’s recently released paper, Future Cities: Planning for our growing population, details the framework of three types of incentives:

  • National Partnership and Project Agreements that make project funding contingent on meeting specified outcomes across the project life cycle and demonstrated economic benefit.
  • City Deals that apply a series of locally and nationally informed objectives to a city or part of a city, and make infrastructure payments for the area contingent on meeting those objectives.
  • Infrastructure Reform Incentives that would provide additional infrastructure funding above existing allocation in return for the delivery of policy and regulatory reform focused on improving the productivity, liveability and affordability of cities.

The Future Cities paper includes three different models of 30-year growth scenarios — low, medium, and high-density versions of the future — for Melbourne and Sydney, and assesses their performance across a range of indicators. These are the performance of the transport network, access to jobs, emissions from cars, access to and demand for hospitals and schools, public parks and gardens.