21 January 2008
The NSW Urban Taskforce today announced that it has changed its name to Urban Taskforce Australia. The Taskforces chief executive, Aaron Gadiel, said the name change reflected the new national focus on urban affairs.
Improving the quality of our urban communities is one of the greatest challenges we all face in the 21st century.
Theres now a much greater recognition across Australia that growing cities and regions provide the engine room for the economy – creating jobs and investment that benefit everyone.
Of course, these economic benefits need to be balanced with initiatives that protect our environment and quality of life.
The Taskforces change follows commitments by the new Federal Government to:
- A $500 million Housing Affordability Fund designed to increase housing supply by providing money for local infrastructure, and giving state and local government incentives to lower development charges.
- A $603 million National Rental Affordability Scheme – providing investment incentives to increase the supply of new affordable rental properties.
- The release of all surplus Commonwealth land for housing development or community infrastructure.
- The appointment of the first federal Minister for Housing since 1996.
The Commonwealths Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Act has played an increasing role in approvals for new urban development, Mr Gadiel said.
The Taskforce has previously made representations to both the former government and the Labor Party (when it was in Opposition) to encourage more streamlined decision-making under this legislation.
We are eager to pursue this matter with the new government.
The mission of the Urban Taskforce hasnt changed.
Our work will continue to promote efficient planning and environment laws, quality urban design, increased economic activity and improved quality of life in urban communities.
There will be no reduction in the energy and resources that we devote to dealing with NSW issues.