11 May 2011
The government will provide $20 million ($10 million in 2011-12 and $10 million in 2012-13) to “help improve the planning and design of the outer suburbs and major regional centres that are experiencing population growth pressures and housing and transport affordability cost pressures”.
Apparently the program will help improve the capacity of regional cities to undertake strategic planning in line with criteria agreed at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG). The program will also fund demonstration projects within capital cities.
Projects to be considered for funding will include the planning, feasibility assessment and/or design for:
- demonstration projects that facilitate innovative residential developments that promote housing affordability, adaptable and accessible housing and improve access to services and public transport;
- projects that create or enhance mixed use precincts that optimise public transport use such as the creation of transit malls and the re-development of significant public spaces;
- strategic plans for major regional cities with populations greater than 100,000 in line with the COAG criteria for capital city strategic planning systems; and
- identifying and protecting critical infrastructure corridors, sites and buffers.
The $20 million two-year scheme to fund urban renewal projects is welcome, but the funding allocation is modest and its focus on “demonstration projects” will limit its effectiveness. The Commonwealth should be neck-deep in its support for urban renewal initiatives, but this program is really just a toe in the water.