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Federal Government Launches National Cities Performance Framework

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After its interim Framework publication earlier in the year, the Australian government has launched its first-of-its-kind online National Cities Performance Framework. It will provide a snapshot of the performance, productivity, and progress of the country’s 21 cities with populations over 80,000 people.

The dashboard will be updated annually, and it aims to measure a variety of benchmarks drawing from numerous data sets to provide a comparison snapshot of how each city is performing across critical indicators. These include jobs and skills, infrastructure and investment, liveability and sustainability, affordability, innovation and digital opportunities, planning and regulation, and housing.

Melbourne and Sydney had the highest life expectancy (83.7 years), with Albury-Wodonga the worst at 80.8 years. 

The indicators will enable all levels of government to assess each city on factors like youth unemployment, access to green spaces, household income, and housing affordability. In turn, such information will in turn help evaluate the opportunities and challenges facing Australian cities and provide crucial insight into how to frame City Deals.

In his foreword to the Framework document, The Hon Angus Taylor MP, Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation said: “The Performance framework is also a living resource that will be improved over time, through continuous improvement, structure around annual updates and three yearly reviews, The Government will work closely with all levels of government, industry and community to drive these improvements.”

Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation Angus Taylor also said the Framework was about encouraging individual cities to improve outcomes.

“The timing of this is fantastic because we’ve just got a really comprehensive dataset from the most recent Australian census, which allows us to see the most updated picture of the economic and growth profile of these cities.

Canberra, Wollongong and Newcastle were the cities with the highest access to green space. 

“The specific goals, to inform potential future City Deals, will come from these metrics. Looking at these cities, it’s very obvious what the challenges that we have to address as a top priority are, and our City Deals will do exactly that.

“It’s not a matter of one city being better than another, this dashboard tells us about the differences in our biggest cities. It tells us that we need policies that customise solutions for individual cities and a national government has to be part of that, just as local governments already are.”

The Framework will also provide insight on how to account for the unintended consequences of urban growth, such as traffic congestion, house price inflation, air pollution, sprawl, and lengthy commutes. This information is vital when you stop and consider that around three-quarters of the Australian population lives and works in the 21 largest cities. What is more, the country’s population growth over the past decade has been double the OECD average in line with net overseas migration. 

Mackay, Townsville and Darwin ranked as the top cities regarding housing affordability. 

The dashboard will help when it comes to planning how to manage and reform planning, regulation, and investment to accommodate these demands. The information is publicly available, which is particularly useful for those in the infrastructure and construction industries.

The performance dashboard is available at smart-cities.dashboard.gov.au.

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