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New Minister for Cities welcomed

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New Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s appointment of Jamie Briggs as Minister for Cities and the Built Environment should lead to a greater focus on funding urban infrastructure, according to Urban Taskforce Australia.

Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson points out that Turnbull “clearly has an interest in cities and how growth is managed”, adding: “It is therefore pleasing to see the appointment.

“The major role the federal government has in cities is in relation to the funding of urban infrastructure projects.

“It’s important that the federal government doesn’t confuse the key role that state governments have in planning and managing cities and their growth,” Johnson says. “As the major collector of taxes, however, the federal government should allocate funds based on pro-growth policies of state and local government.”

Urban Taskforce’s position is that with Australian cities becoming more urban, with a big swing to apartment living, there’s a need to ensure public transport systems and other amenities can support the urban growth.

“Without adequate funding for urban infrastructure, communities will be reluctant to support urban density, which could lead to greater government costs through our cities spreading vast distances,” Johnson says.

“The Urban Taskforce is keen to work with Minister Briggs as a continuation of discussions held with him a few months ago so that input from the development industry can help inform policy.

“With the slowdown in the minerals sector it is the property development sector that is leading employment activity in Australia and the continuation of this momentum is important for future prosperity."