Cities take centre stage

We are living in the era of cities.

It is in our cities that Australia’s economic wealth and 80 per cent of our GDP is generated.

While our cities have become our economic powerhouses, we need them to be productivity powerhouses too.

That means getting our cities to work better, particularly as they grow.

Last week, both sides of politics embraced this debate – with speeches by Malcolm Turnbull, Anthony Albanese, Paul Fletcher and Angus Taylor on our cities. It is a welcome development and it was terrific to see both sides highlight the precedent of UK style ‘city deals’ that we have long been arguing for.

As Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen put it last week, getting cities right is as big a productivity driver as education or tax reform.

The challenge for governments is that it’s not just important work, it’s also expensive work.

And while the focus from both sides of federal politics is welcome, there is not much detail on offer. The settings need to be right. We will work with policy makers to ensure that we can maximise growth and find sensible and appropriate ways to do so. There is no point in ‘value capture’ if the value captured removes the incentive to invest.

We are pragmatists – we want growth, we understand it needs to be financed, but we want policies that are targeted, that work and achieve the goal of making our cities more productive and liveable.

Funding growth in our cities is an issue that will be centre stage in the years ahead – and we intend to play our part in this vital policy area.