Smart planning for cities

Last week, I joined the Mayors of Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin, Hobart, Melbourne and Perth for a meeting of the Council of Capital City Lord Mayors in Adelaide.

These meetings are a valuable opportunity to share knowledge and take action on issues that impact the millions of people living in our capital cities.

Along with the other mayors I spoke at the Future of Places conference about the need for better local, state and national coordination.

The Federal Government has so far shown very little interest in city policy. In NSW, joint city planning between local and state governments is rare, and even fewer projects have tripartite agreement.

I have long advocated for engagement between the local, state and federal governments, particularly via formal agreements where joint planning occurs and each level commits to action in its area of responsibility.

Canada's Urban Development Agreements (UDAs) provide a model, with the 2000 Vancouver Agreement providing a successful example for addressing inner-city issues.

When I was first elected Lord Mayor of Sydney 2004, I wanted to set a long-term plan for the environmental, economic, social and cultural sustainability of our city.

We wanted a vision that would inspire support across the board— so that long-term work could continue, no matter who was in government at a local, state or federal. We engaged local communities, other levels of government, business, cultural and educational institutions, interest groups and visitors in the most comprehensive consultation ever undertaken in Sydney.

The result was Sustainable Sydney 2030, and many of the projects highlighted in that plan are now taking shape.

City governments in Australia are taking the lead by setting a vision and developing partnerships to make that vision happen.

But we urgently need a commitment to cooperation, alignment between the policy priories at each level of government, and the political will to deliver on the plans.

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