A new PwC report has reinforced the importance of Commonwealth investment in urban policy, confirming that cities are increasingly critical to national economic growth and calling for closer government attention to areas like efficient public transport.
The report shows that $1 in every $5 of national income is produced by 10 locations in Australia, with Australia’s cities leading this trend.
Rob Tyson, Director of economics and policy at PwC who collated the data, stated that it is, ‘urban areas which have been steadily capturing a larger share of economic output’, and that, ‘fewer locations will be relied upon to drive an increasingly large share of economic growth’.
The report suggests that governments should invest in increasing public transport links between these centres of economic activity.
This is consistent with Labor’s calls for urgent and immediate investment in public transport in our metropolitan cities to connect people in the suburbs to jobs and opportunities in our cities.
As Mr Tyson points out, there are huge social and equity challenges that these trends pose for governments.
Unfortunately, Tony Abbott simply isn’t up to these challenges. Instead, the Abbott Government abolished the Major Cities Unit in 2013 and slashed infrastructure spending across the country by 11.2 per cent over the next four years.
Tony Abbott has no policy aimed at Australia’s cities, which are home to four out of five Australians.
In contrast, Bill Shorten promised in his recent Budget Reply speech that a Labor Government would invest in nation-building infrastructure across the nation.
Bill Shorten has promised to have a Minister for Cities and has already appointed Anthony Albanese as Shadow Minister for Cities.
How much more evidence does this Government need to take seriously the challenges, and opportunities of urban Australia?