Cities set for sustainability


Australian cities should become cleaner, greener and more liveable as a result of new approaches from federal and local levels of government. Simon Vincett reports. 

Bicycle Network welcomed the creation of a federal Ministry of Cities and the Built Environment by the new Turnbull Government as a positive move towards creating an effective network for bicycle transport, declaring, “Integrated transport planning is back on the agenda for the federal government.”

“In his announcement of the new ministry,” Bicycle Network points out, “Prime Minister Turnbull made specific reference to the importance of transport integration: ‘Integration is critical. We shouldn’t be discriminating between one form of transit and another. Roads are not better than mass transit or vice versa, each of them has their place. Infrastructure should be assessed objectively and rationally on its merits. There is no place for ideology here at all. The critical thing is to ensure that we get the best outcomes in our cities.'”

“With this kind of thinking, the Turnbull Government is well placed to commit to Australia’s first federal bicycle infrastructure fund to unlock the massive health, economic and liveability benefits of bike-friendly cities,” says Bicycle Network, pointing to the United Kingdom and New Zealand as two other countries that have already committed federal funds to developing bike riding as a viable transportation choice.

“There is now bipartisan political support for liveable cities at the federal level, with this new ministry matching the opposition’s Shadow Ministry for Cities, Infrastructure and Transport headed by the Hon. Anthony Albanese MP,” the organisation continues. “The key test now for the major parties is to see who will take action by committing to Australia’s first bicycle infrastructure fund.”

Also last week, The Guardian reported that the mayors Clover Moore and Robert Doyle have joined Sydney and Melbourne into an “international coalition of cities that have committed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and advocate for action on climate change.”

“The Compact of Mayors requires that participant cities have ambitious plans to cut their own emissions, while also acting as advocates for climate action,” The Guardian reports.

Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney, is quoted saying: “We’re already delivering significant action on climate change and slashing carbon emissions in the heart of the nation’s largest city. Our commitment to this compact with city leaders from around the world reinforces our commitment to the Sydney community to take action on climate change.”

Robert Doyle, Lord Mayor of Melbourne, is quoted saying: “You can’t be the world’s most liveable city without careful attention to two elements—the prosperity and sustainability of the city.”

Former New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, who launched The Compact of Mayors in 2014, is quoted saying that participant cities are, “showing their national governments that more ambitious goals are both possible and achievable … And—perhaps most importantly of all—they are proving that fighting climate change and increasing economic growth go hand in hand.”

Finally, Ken Morrison, Chief Executive of the Property Council of Australia, in the Sydney Morning Herald suggested Malcolm Turnbull is “perhaps our most urbanist Prime Minister yet”. Morrison flagged development of integrated city transport infrastructure as vital to counter “congestion, declining liveability and reduced connectivity in our cities”.

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