Working collaboratively for better outcomes

Article image - Working collaboratively for better outcomes ACT Chief Minister, Andrew Barr

With Australia’s growing population and infrastructure requirements, it’s more important than ever before that local governments break down borders and work collaboratively to service this increased population.

Canberra’s population is increasing, growing at a faster rate than all capital cities apart from Melbourne. The wider Canberra region is home to over 750,000 people across the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and southern New South Wales (NSW).

The ACT Government has been working with ten councils in our region over the past few years to tackle infrastructure and strategic planning issues, with the aim of delivering better outcomes for our diverse communities.

I’m proud this collaborative approach has secured some support for upgrades to the Canberra to Sydney rail link, the alignment of housing services to support victims of family and domestic violence, and freight opportunities for our region from Canberra Airport – to name just a few outcomes.

We believe that by working together as a region, we can get better outcomes in a sometimes hard-to-navigate political landscape.

As such, the Canberra Region Joint Organisation has proposed a different take on the Federal Government’s City Deals, working up a set of priorities that a future Federal Government could fund in a Canberra Region Deal.

The proposed Canberra Region Deal would enhance transport and connectivity for passengers and freight, opening up tourism and other economic opportunities. It would create borderless services for ACT and South East NSW communities to enhance healthcare, higher education, waste management and recycling, and it would continue developing a National Capital befitting of modern Australia.

We’ve worked with neighbouring councils to identify key regional infrastructure projects, such as faster rail links, investment in the port of Eden and the duplication of the Barton Highway, along with mobile blackspot upgrades and the continued roll out of the Country Universities Centre across regional NSW.

I believe that none of us in state and local governments are here to mind the shop – we’re here to embrace the opportunities that come from population growth and ensuring our local economies remain strong.

By working together to build a case for change and pitch it collectively to the Federal Government of the time, we can better harness the opportunities that population growth bring us.