November Business Lunch with The Hon Alan Tudge

Good growth offers “massive opportunities” for our nation
, the Hon Alan Tudge told a Property Council audience in Sydney on Friday 23 November.

Alan Tudge, the federal minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population, reassured the packed crowd of property professionals that the Australian Government would “strike the right balance” between maximising economic growth while maintaining liveability of Australian cities.

Australia’s annual growth rate of 1.6 per cent was double the rate of the United States and nearly 2.5 times the average for OECD growth, Tudge explained.

Our three biggest urban areas – Melbourne, Sydney and South East Queensland – are absorbing 75 per cent of this growth. “Melbourne added more people last year than any other English-speaking city in the world, bar two. Only Atlanta and Houston added more people,” he said.

The challenge for governments and planners is the “unequal distribution of growth”. While some parts of the country are playing catch-up on infrastructure, other regions are “desperate to grow more rapidly”.

Tudge acknowledged the “breakdown in planning” which had created a disconnect between federal and state policies. He pointed to Sydney’s policies during the 2000s, which saw Premier Bob Carr cry ‘Sydney is full’ while Prime Minister Kevin Rudd “turbo-charged population growth” through migration policy.

The Australian Government would address this “mismatch” through a “bottom-up” approach to migration, Tudge said, and would work collaboratively with state governments to develop population plans that informed national migration settings.

Tudge’s commentary comes as Sydney’s peak industry bodies and not-for-profit leaders join forces to promote the benefits of well-planned growth in Sydney and the state.

The Property Council, the Committee for Sydney and the Sydney Business Chamber, together with the Community Housing Industry Association of NSW, Homelessness NSW and Shelter NSW, have formed the Good Growth Alliance.

The Alliance has written an open letter to the NSW Premier and NSW Leader of the Opposition to call for a sustainable plan for growth in Sydney, based on transparent, consistent and evidence-based decision-making.

The Alliance also calls for an action plan to address homelessness, a housing innovation fund and several measures to enhance infrastructure investment and planning.

The ten proposals for the NSW Government, which will create a better Sydney and a stronger NSW include:

  1. A Good Growth Summit within 100 days of the 2019 NSW Election, so communities, industry and government can collaborate more strongly on making Sydney a sustainable, liveable global city by 2050
  2. Boosting housing and driving a renewed policy focus by developing an evidence-based NSW Housing Strategy and funded action plan to increase the supply of social, affordable, key worker and ‘at market’ housing including build-to-rent.
  3. Taking the lead on housing issues by appointing a Minister for Housing to deliver the NSW Housing Strategy and establish a multi-sector advisory council. 
  4. Delivering at least 5000 additional social housing dwellings per year for the next 10 years by introducing a Capital Growth Fund to increase the supply of social and affordable housing.
  5. Reducing homelessness by committing to an action plan that addresses the key causes of homelessness with the goal of ending homelessness in NSW by 2028. 
  6. Planning for growth and equity by ensuring new communities have the same access to public transport, employment, education and community infrastructure as established communities.
  7. Supporting better innovation and design in housing by establishing a housing innovation fund and investigate regulatory barriers to delivering innovative models and design options that improve energy efficiency and reduce the cost of living.
  8. Delivering a 30-minute city by identifying existing and new public transport corridors and station precincts that can accommodate the needs and aspirations of existing communities and support the development of compact residential, commercial, community, education and health hubs.
  9. Inspiring community and industry confidence in the planning system by introducing enforceable key performance indicators for Development Approvals at a local and state level. 
  10. Conducting an inquiry into the current funding for social and economic infrastructure in growing communities, including developer contributions, with the aim of providing industry and community greater certainty and consistency.  

Read more here.