The Challenge

Australian cities continue to grow exceeding the capacity of their infrastructure. The ABS predicts that within the next 50 years, Australia’s population will increase by 18 million people to over 42 million.  Growth on this scale will transform our cities and regions, therefore, managing population growth will be critical as every year passes.

Growth management policies are inadequate with reform advocated at each level of government. Managing the growth of our four largest emerging metropolitan cities Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth, in particular, has become particularly challenging in the last ten years. It is essential that governments are equipped with the necessary tools and processes to deliver the land use and infrastructure planning and funding required to respond to growth.

Emerging Findings

Evidence suggests that the current governance models are no longer adequate to respond to these complex challenges. Therefore, Australia needs to look for and adopt new tools to manage cities and regions and avoid long-term economic and social impacts. Pragmatic land use and infrastructure planning is exacerbated by an absence of collaborative tools needed to plan across multiple service providers and jurisdictions.

The 2018 Property Council of Australia “Creating Greater Australian Cities” report, recommended planning systems that were more adaptive, and data led, in order to optimise the impact of infrastructure investment. This was supported by Infrastructure Australia’s “Planning Liveable Cities Report” 2018 which recommends the use of new and existing data sources to provide more integrated and timely information on asset and network quality, capacity.

The key messages from both reports include the need for:

  • Revised governance to better collaborate to make decisions for the greater good;
  • Leveraging the evidence base to measure our infrastructure and land use activities
  • Improved processes and systems to manage growth and investment

These are essential to drive outcomes around Australia and the ambitious goals championed within the proposed SEQ City Deal Proposition and the 2032 Olympic bid.

In recent weeks Brisbane hosted the 2019 Asian Pacific Cities & Mayors’ Forum with a focus on driving the transformation of cities through business and innovation. This was a key platform for cities, businesses, industry and emerging leaders to connect and shape the region’s urban agenda.

World-renowned scholar, advocate and advisor to the Queensland Cities Transformation Task Force, Professor Greg Clarke CBE FAcSS, returned to the summit this year to offer his expertise around city economies, investment, technology and innovation, urban governance, strategic planning, place leadership and national policy. Prof Clarke spoke of advancing our understanding of what is needed to help governments make improved decisions for long term urban sustainability. The Summit reinforced the need for technological systems that are data led and innovative to optimise infrastructure investment and support the growing and changing needs of our Australian way of life.

Delivering Innovation

As an infrastructure adviser operating nationally to provide policy and strategy to government and industry, Integran has independently developed the innovative software Outvye® that empowers governments to meet these challenges. Outvye® provides a comprehensive solution to many of the reform recommendations advocated by Infrastructure Australia and the Property Council of Australia.

Investment in technological solutions like Outvye® within the planning and infrastructure sector will build capability back into government decision making. The ability to rapidly understand the current and future capacity of infrastructure networks, make better use of existing assets and plan for growth in housing and jobs is critical. By investing now in tools and processes, we can collaboratively plan for the long-term, make evidence-based decisions and ensure that our cities are liveable, thriving urban environments.