What does the new Ministry mean for urban infrastructure?
This month saw Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull and the Liberal/National coalition win a close victory over the Australian Labor Party to maintain their majority in Parliament. One constant of the campaigning from both sides was a focus on the property market. This is unsurprising considering that the sector accounts for roughly 11 per cent of Australia’s GDP, according to the Real Estate Institute of Australia.
There were several areas of property that received attention during the weeks and months leading up to the election, including hot topics such as housing affordability. Just as important were discussions surrounding Australia’s urban infrastructure, which is a critical factor in the growth and development of the country’s biggest population hubs.
It isn’t always easy to predict how policy or government portfolios might change after an election, but with the recent announcement of Prime Minister Turnbull’s second Ministry, we have a better idea of how much focus there might be on urban infrastructure and development.
The future of urban infrastructure in Australia
There is a clear goal when it comes to increasing the liveability and value of outer suburbs.
One of the platforms that the Liberal/National coalition campaigned on was the promise that only very small changes would be made in terms of Ministry, with the aim being to ensure stability across target areas. In the wake of the election, it’s clear to see that stability has indeed been the order of the day, with all Ministers remaining in the Cabinet. There have however, been a few minor changes, including the appointment of Paul Fletcher as the new Minister for Urban Infrastructure.
This represents a new portfolio within government, with Mr Fletcher previously holding the post of Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government, which has now been split into several different areas. The specific focus on developing Australia’s biggest cities shows that there is a clear goal when it comes to increasing the liveability and value of outer suburbs in comparison to central areas.
Putting theory into practice
Of course, it’s all very well to talk about developing urban infrastructure, but the real proof will be in the first big projects to come through the pipeline over the next few years. There are certainly some lofty goals. In an interview with 702 ABC Sydney on 19 July, Mr Fletcher reiterated that Australian cities need to be “as liveable as possible,” with a key factor being “that we can get around quickly and efficiently.”
Accordingly, road and rail projects are a primary focus, and the greater connection in important cities like Darwin (via the Barneson Boulevard Project} are widely expected to bring positive growth to the commercial property sector, according to the Property Council of Australia. Of course, nothing is set in stone, but with the right investment in the best projects, Australia could cement its place amongst the most desirable, connected and liveable countries in the world.