Are our cities ready for a population surge?
With Australia’s population projected to rise to 36 million by 2050, a KPMG report released last month, ‘Spotlight on Australia’s Capital Cities’, suggests that most cities may not be ready to cope with the increased demand despite this being critical to the nation’s future.
Commissioned by a number of interested parties including the Property Council of Australia, the Australian Institute of Architects and the Planning Institute of Australia, KPMG rated capital cities using criteria adopted last year by the Council of Australian Governments for effective planning. From 2012, the Federal Government plans to distribute infrastructure funds on the basis of how the capital cities rank on these criteria.
The criteria included land-release policies, urban design, integration of nationally significant infrastructure, the clarity of future planning measures, policies to encourage investment, and more grass-roots issues such as traffic congestion, community wellbeing and housing affordability.
Melbournewas ranked Australia’s best city in regards to planning for population growth, followed quite closely by Brisbane. Adelaide, Perth and Canberra followed next, with Sydney, Darwin and then Hobart being rated the worst performers. Based on this report’s findings, experts speculate that Sydney, Darwin and Hobart may struggle to attract Federal funding for major infrastructure projects.
The report states, “Melbourne is ranked first because it has the strongest representation of a capital strategic planning system supported by a metropolitan plan, a transport plan, land supply program and the recently released Integrated Housing Strategy”.
The report advises that the Federal Government should be more involved in urban policy nationally, specifically recommending that a cabinet minister be appointed to manage urban affairs.