Urban policy details decade of action - partnerships now crucial

The Chair of the Council of Capital City Lord Mayors (CCCLM) and Lord Mayor of Hobart, Alderman Rob Valentine has given a cautious welcome to the National Urban Policy released by the Federal Government. Providing a framework to guide the development of Australia's 18 biggest cities, 'Our Cities, Our Future' defines an ongoing role for the Federal Government in Australia's cities.

It outlines the goals, objectives and principles which will underpin the Federal Government's future infrastructure investment and program delivery in cities.

Rob Valentine said for over 15 years, Australia's Lord Mayors have championed the need for formal Federal Government involvement in securing the economic, social and environmental future of our cities.

"Home to over three quarters of Australians and over two thirds of our economic output, our cities are of national importance, a fact accepted and now formally reflected in national government policy," he said. "The announcement by the Federal Government brings to fruition a commitment given three years ago to clarify and cement an ongoing role to work in partnership with State, Territory and Local Governments to improve the lives of Australian's living and working in urban communities.

"Over $180 million in new programs were announced in the budget as a down payment towards implementing a Federal cities agenda. This includes $20 million to improve affordability and liveability, specifically for the Federal Government to work in partnership with my fellow Lord Mayors and I, on demonstration projects which enhance the liveability and sustainability of our capital cities.

"These policy announcements are highly symbolic and highly anticipated after three years preparation.

"It is an important recognition of the national and international role our cities play, and the future challenges and opportunities they face. What's needed now are the partnerships between governments, backed by enough dollars to drive real change.

"Minister Albanese made it clear in launching the national urban policy that the Gillard Government is making a long term commitment to invest in and engage with Australia's cities. He has indicated that the Federal Government is open to establishing government partnerships.

"Australia now has a national urban policy which identifies a decade of specific Federal action but only three years of funding. The Federal Government needs to build on this $180 million down payment to implement the national urban policy and build effective relationships with State, Territory and Local Governments to deliver actual projects.

"We look forward to continuing to work with the Federal Government to build a partnership to implement the national urban policy to build strong, sustainable urban communities which will benefit the nation as a whole."