« Back to Publications

New name, new look for latest national urban policy, but same old problem

Richard Tomlinson writes in The Conversation (17.5.16) about the federal government’s interest in urban policy, witnessed in its recent ‘Smart Cities’ plan. The author argues that the plan represents another case of a ‘Commonwealth knows best’ approach marked by increasing centralisation of urban policy planning.

‘Globally, interest in national urban policy peaked in the late 1970s and declined sharply thereafter. The trend held true for Australia, peaking under the Whitlam government.

‘The decades after the Whitlam government produced a variety of federal housing and other urban policies. None had the scope of a national urban policy.

‘Not until 2011, with Labor’s Our Cities, Our Future, was a national urban policy launched. This did not mirror a similar resurgent interest in Western countries. These countries promote intergovernmental decentralisation, while Australia has increased centralisation.

‘Australian exceptionalism – both its “unique model of metropolitan governance” and its extreme vertical fiscal imbalance (VFI) – provides the setting for federal policy that assumes the prerogatives of state and metropolitan urban policy.’

The TJRyan Foundation does not guarantee the accuracy, currency or completeness of any information or material available on this website. The TJRyan Foundation reserves the right to change information or material on this website at any time without notice. Links from this site to external, non-TJRyan Foundation websites should not be construed as implying any relationship with and/or endorsement of the external site or its content by the TJR Foundation, nor any commercial relationship with the owners of any external site. Should any TJRyan research project be funded by an individual or organisation the source of funding will be stated beside the research report. In all other cases contributions are provided on a pro bono basis.
Receive the latest news

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get notified about new articles

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.