Are Australian cities 'broken'?

A new book from the Grattan Institute reaffirms what we've known for some time - that poor planning and investment by state and federal governments has had detrimental effects on our cities.

By concentrating jobs in our inner cities, but neglecting the affordable housing or public transport that many workers need, governments have locked people into a lifestyle of long commutes to work that is dependent on cars.

City Limits: Why Australia's cities are broken and how we can fix them by Jane-Frances Kelly and Paul Donegan says that Australians are spending 20 per cent longer commuting than they did a decade ago - and the proportion of people spending more than 10 hours a week in transit increased by about half.

Over the past ten years the City of Sydney has fought to give residents and workers more transport options, including public and active transport.

We have also encouraged high-quality urban renewal in areas like Green Square, Harold Park and Ashmore that are providing new homes and jobs without sacrificing the heritage and character of our villages.

In an opinion piece published today, the book's authors stress that the community needs to be involved in deciding on the solutions to this challenge:

'it's incumbent on whoever wins this state election to involve the community more in making the hard decisions that are inevitable in tackling the challenges Sydney faces.'

I agree, and I hope that whoever is Premier after the NSW election pays close attention to this.

WestConnex is the clearest example of the Government side lining the community. The motorway will do nothing to address the big problems facing Sydney, and will rob us of the opportunity to invest in the kind of 21st Century public transport system Sydney deserves.

Sign Up