Infrastructure boost needs to lead to plans for great cities

The Property Council has heralded the big infrastructure boost confirmed in today’s Federal Budget but called for this to be leveraged into a stronger plan to create great cities and support a growing Australia.

“The budget goes long on infrastructure and overwhelmingly funds the right projects. Now these need to be leveraged into comprehensive plans to grow our cities and regions,” said Ken Morrison, Chief Executive of the Property Council of Australia.

“The Government’s ten-year infrastructure pipeline will reduce congestion, boost productivity and improve connectivity in our cities and regions. For the most part, these are projects which are on the Infrastructure Australia priority list.

“However, we need to go further. This funding needs to be leveraged into growth plans for our cities in partnership with the states and territories.

“Our cities are growing fast and we should be much more ambitious in our approach to planning for the future growth of great Australian cities. 

“The funding for infrastructure is vital, but it also means getting the planning right and tackling the regulatory issues which affect the productivity and livability of our communities,” Mr Morrison said.

“This includes delivering City Deals for all of our major capital cities and providing extra funding to enable this work to be done. 

“Housing affordability was a major focus of last year’s budget but the problem hasn’t gone away. We need the full suite of policies to ensure new supply can keep pace with our growing population.”

Initiatives such as the $3.5 billion Roads of Strategic Importance and $1 billion Urban Congestion Fund are new names for previously announced funding. 

“The Budget is silent on support for the ‘build to rent’ sector which has the potential to make an important contribution to improving housing affordability in Australia,” Mr Morrison said.

“The Government can unlock significant investment for this asset class with the right policy settings. ‘Investors are ready to go and provide Australians with a wider range of affordable housing options.”

The Property Council welcomed the Government’s focus on increased home care funding, but blockages preventing many older Australians from right-sizing their housing – particularly through the pension asset test – remained unaddressed.

“The additional funding for home care places is welcome but is only part of the solution to helping older Australians avoid going into residential aged care,” Mr Morrison said.

“Removing the barriers preventing many older Australians from ‘right-sizing’ their housing is a missed opportunity to deliver more choice and better outcomes for older Australians.

”The Government’s plans to deliver phased income tax relief over seven years, starting with a focus on lower to middle income earners, should have a positive but modest impact on consumer sentiment.

The Budget papers show a decline in net overseas migration from 242,600 in 2017 to 221,400 in 2021. Victoria and Queensland lead growth in net interstate migration assumptions.

These figures reinforce the reality of our growing nation and the importance of planning our cities and urban areas to support a bigger population in the years ahead.

Media contact: Matt Francis | M 0467 777 220 | E [email protected]