Promises of a Building Better Regional Cities program

21 July 2010

If the Gillard Government is re-elected it promises to invest $200 million to help build up to 15,000 more affordable homes in regional cities over three years and “relieve pressure on our major capital cities, so that Australia can grow sustainably”. Capital cities are excluded from this new “Building Better Regional Cities” program.

This program is intended to give participating councils new funding to invest in local infrastructure projects that support new housing developments, such as connecting roads, extensions to drains and sewerage pipes, and community infrastructure such as parks and community centres. Under the scheme 46 regional cities will be able to apply for funding for about 15 projects.

None of this $200 million is new money. In fact the government has confirmed that $140 million will be funded by slowing down the roll-out of the National Rental Affordability Scheme and $60 million will be diverted from the existing Housing Affordability Fund.

Information from the ALP on the scheme is available here.

This promise will see the federal government accepting some responsibility for funding roads connecting new suburbs to existing urban areas, as well as new community facilities such as parks. However, to be effective this initiative needs a lot more money behind it and it needs to be rolled out on a much larger scale. Capital cities like Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne need urban infrastructure too and they shouldn’t be overlooked.