Report calls for national approach to planning


The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities has released its report on the Australian Government's role in the development of cities, calling for a national plan of settlement to provide a national vision for our cities and regions across the next fifty years.

The wide-ranging report, ‘Building Up and Moving Out’, points out that “Our major cities and our regions have one future—they will depend on each other for their prosperity, sustainability and liveability—and planning for this future needs to be done in an integrated and holistic way.”

“Our cities need to be better planned, better connected, more compact, more diverse and more sustainable. They will need to engage with, and hopefully lead, global best practice in technology, urban form, accessibility and sustainability. They will need to connect to regions which are also well planned, well connected, more sustainable and better integrated. This requires vision and leadership from government at all levels, and the development of systems of urban and regional governance well-adapted to the challenges of the future.”

The proposed national plan of settlement would provide a 'master plan' for Australian cities and regions, that would “link vertically across different levels of government, and horizontally, providing infrastructure, housing, employment and services within a coherent integrated framework.”

It would address:

  • growth and change in population;

  • growth and change in employment;

  • the economically, socially and environmentally sustainable development of cities and regions;

  • the relationship between cities and regions on a national, regional and local scale;

  • connectivity within and between regions, and between residence and employment.

The report recommends that “the Australian Government, in conjunction with State and Territory Governments, pursues a system of urban planning which promotes:

  • accessibility and liveability, promoting heath 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.

It also recommends that the Australian Government develop a framework for the development of cities and regions outside the major metropolitan centres, based on the hub-and-spoke concept, within the context of a national planning framework.

Mechanisms to achieve a more integrated approach to planning included an accelerated City Deals program, a Minister for Cities and National Settlement, a statutory Office of a National Chief Planner, s COAG Cities & Regional Development Ministerial Council, a Cities & Regional Development NGO Roundtable and the formation of city commissions – along the lines of the Greater Sydney Commission.

Other proposals include:

  • the development of transport networks which allow for fast transit between cities and regions, and within cities and regions, with a view to developing a more sustainable pattern of settlement based on the principle of accessibility at a local, regional and national level;

  • priority be given to cevelopment of a fast rail or high speed rail network connecting the principal urban centres along the east coast of Australia, with a view to opening up the surrounding regions to urban development.

  • creation of an effective cost of living index, including housing, at the scale of local communities to highlight the economic and lifestyle advantages of living in regional communities.

  • Development of nationally consistent guidelines for urban green space and a clear trajectory to continued carbon emissions reductions.

The full report is available here

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