Government reports highlight importance of Australian cities

The reports are intended to help improve investment in urban and regional infrastructure.

The economic output of our major cities has grown and their national importance remains extremely high, although mining activity in regional Australia has seen the overall percentage contribution by major cities to GDP dip slightly, according to new government reports.

The Progress in Australian Regions—State of Regional Australia 2015 and State of Australian Cities 2014-15, were released by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development earlier this month.

The reports are intended to help improve investment in urban and regional infrastructure and provide an understanding of the nation’s overall economic and social wellbeing.

The State of Australian Cities 2014-15 report notes that in addition to a strong economy, cities are also essential to the standard of living and quality of life of most Australians, with over 75% of the country’s population residing in our 20 largest cities.

“Building the infrastructure Australia needs for the future is best informed by a thorough understanding of the challenges ahead, and these publications will provide vital information for infrastructure planners and communities,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, Warren Truss.

“...infrastructure continues to support the economies of regional Australia by promoting the efficient flow of people and resources while also providing regional Australians with access to essential services such as education and health."

Mr Truss said the release of the publications recognised the interrelated nature of cities and their surrounding regions.

State of Australian Cities 2014-15 is an important tool for all levels of government in understanding where our cities are performing well and where there are opportunities for improvement,” he said.

“While there is no doubt our cities are vitally important for the nation’s prosperity they cannot be considered in isolation from their surrounding regions."

The Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) has welcomed the release of the latest State of Australian Cities Report, with national president Cameron Shephard commenting that creating economically productive and liveable cities is essential for ensuring Australia’s future prosperity.

“Given the growing economic challenges facing Australia, it will be essential for governments to do what they can to ensure that Australia’s cities are attractive and competitive places to live, work, and do business," said Mr Shephard

“Unfortunately, as many Australians would have experienced first-hand, investment in key city infrastructure has struggled to keep up with growth in recent years, creating congestion and resulting in inadequate access to services, housing, and other opportunities.

“The 2014-15 State of Australian Cities report makes a valuable contribution by bringing cities back into the policy spotlight, and highlighting to governments where our cities can be improved to secure Australia’s economic prosperity, and the quality of life for most Australians,” concluded Mr. Shephard.