Australia has some of the best, most liveable cities in the world.

Our cities—regional and metropolitan—are also where most Australians live and where most of our economic output is produced.

As our economy continues to transition and our knowledge based industries grow, so too do our cities.

To respond to this growth, and take advantage of tomorrow’s economic opportunities, we need to rethink the way our cities are planned, built and managed today.

Our economic transition and growth is important, but it can present challenges.

It is placing pressure on housing affordability, access to local jobs and our natural environment, as well as increasing congestion and traffic.

To secure our future prosperity and global competitiveness, all levels of government need to work in partnership to support our cities big and small.

To achieve this we need a long term framework—we need a Smart Cities Plan.

Smart Cities Plan

The Smart Cities Plan sets out the Australian Government’s vision for our cities, and our plan for maximising their potential. It includes three pillars: Smart Investment, Smart Policy and Smart Technology.

We will become smarter investors in our cities’ infrastructure

We will prioritise projects that meet broader economic and city objectives such as accessibility, jobs, affordable housing and healthy environments. We will treat infrastructure funding as a long term investment not a grant and get involved early to ensure projects create opportunities for urban renewal and raise private capital. By drawing on innovative financing approaches—including value capture—we will leverage our balance sheet and deliver more essential infrastructure sooner.

We will coordinate and drive smarter city policy

We will work across all levels of government to develop City Deals that unlock public and private investment in key economic centres. By incentivising reforms we will generate additional benefits for the economy making cities better places to live in and do business.

We will collect and analyse data about the performance of our cities, so we can measure our policies’ success and respond to new needs.

We will drive the take up of smart technology, to improve the sustainability of our cities and drive innovation

We will embrace new technology with the potential to revolutionise how cities are planned, function, and how our economy grows. Disruptive new technology in transport, communications and energy efficiency are becoming a reality—we will position our cities to take full advantage. We will leverage real time open data driven solutions and support investment in sectors commercialising new innovations to grow Australian’s economy.

Regional cities

The Smart Cities Plan is not just for our capital cities, or just for our CBDs. It is for cities of all sizes and for all parts of cities. Across Australia, cities are facing different opportunities and challenges.

While congestion and affordability are critical issues in capital and major cities, many regional cities are suffering from low or negative growth, as jobs lost in the manufacturing sector, or more recently the resources and energy sectors, are not replaced quickly enough.

We need to plan for the future of regional cities, maximising their unique advantages and supporting their long term growth. The Smart Cities Plan provides a platform for long term investment and coordinated planning to help Australian cities reach their full potential.

Our commitments

The Smart Cities Plan provides a foundation for ongoing reform and cooperative action.

It represents a new framework for cities policy at the federal level—and it is a framework that will guide action across various portfolios, to deliver better outcomes for our cities, the people who live in them and all Australians.

This document outlines our early commitments to provide a structural setting for reform, including through:

  • $50 million for Infrastructure Planning
    The Australian Government will provide $50 million to accelerate planning and development works on major transformational infrastructure projects, including urban rail.
  • Establishment of an Infrastructure Financing Unit
    The Government will establish an infrastructure financing unit to work closely with the private sector in developing funding and financing solutions to deliver key government projects.
    The unit will create integrated project teams with the private sector and key agencies to broker investment in landmark projects through innovative financing solutions including private partnerships, balance sheet leveraging and value capture for major projects.
  • Inviting State and Territory Governments to partner with us on City Deals
    City Deals will deliver better outcomes through a coordinated investment plan for our cities. Through Deals that drive national priorities tailored to local needs, government will develop collective plans for growth and commit to the actions, investments, reforms and governance needed to implement them.City Deals will provide common objectives across levels of government, support for key industry and employment centres, infrastructure investment linked to broader reform and changes to planning and governance arrangements to deliver enduring benefits.

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