COAG Reform Council Report into Cities Planning

Statement by BCA Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott on the COAG Reform Council Report into Cities Planning

The COAG Reform Council is right to highlight the key challenge in making our cities work better is closer integration of planning and development policies between our governments.

The Business Council of Australia supports the key findings in the CRC’s report assessing the performance of our governments in cities planning.

Australia’s cities consistently rank well in international comparisons. But with our population projected to grow by around 60 per cent by 2050, our cities will be home to more people and how they function will be critical to Australia’s future economic and social development.

The BCA supports efforts to promote and sustain improvements in strategic cities planning into the future and congratulates COAG for undertaking this initiative.

State and territory governments should draw on these findings to improve their city planning systems and ensure more effective delivery of infrastructure, more timely land release and more efficient planning processes.

The federal government should also heed the messages in the CRC’s report that its policies for Australia’s cities do not clearly fit together and that it should be clearer about how it will help to fund future infrastructure provision in cities.

A more clearly defined federal government role will also address concerns within the states and the community about excessive or centrist federal interventions.

The high importance placed by the CRC on better community engagement is welcome.

Government and business leaders, both nationally and locally, must openly and honestly discuss with the community how our cities can grow and evolve for the better including the role of housing and infrastructure investment.

The need for better policies to support private investment in the implementation of city plans is another important consideration addressed in the report. Australian governments are generally better at planning than at implementing plans. Good outcomes require both. 

All governments in our federation have a role to play in cities planning and development and it is important those roles are clearly recognised by all governments and performed well.