Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s recent release of the Smart Cities Plan is a welcomed focus on our cities by the Federal Government.
Features of the Smart Cities Plan include the concept of a 30 minute city where no one has to spend more than 30 minutes travelling from their home to the places they need to visit on a daily basis.
The Smart Cities Plan also seeks to establish an infrastructure financing unit to invest in projects for long term financial returns rather than simply providing a grant. For example where the Australian Government contributes to an infrastructure project that will generate a financial return—such as a tolled expressway—the government will seek a share of that return.
Another concept promoted in the Smart Cities Plan is the use of ‘value capture’ to generate returns from infrastructure investment. This may involve the development and sale of land above or adjacent to transport interchanges and government-owned land.
A coordinated and strategic all of government focus on the places where we live and work is well overdue.
According to the Planning Institute of Australia, the population of Sydney will exceed 5 million this year and will grow by about 1.35 million by 2031 –adding almost another third to the existing population.
The de-politicisation of infrastructure spending and alternative funding strategies is therefore essential to ensure that road and rail projects are developed in an orderly and strategic manner.
Submissions on the Smart Cities Plan close on June 24.
What do you think about the recently released Smart Cities Plan?
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