Australia Gets a Minister for Cities and Built Environment. New Zealand? Stuck Somewhere in the Past?

Liberal Prime Minister recognises the importance of the City


From the Planning Institute of Australia

Planners applaud return of cities to frontbench prominence

Australia’s peak body for urban and regional planning has praised the inclusion of a new Cities and Built Environment portfolio in Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s new-look frontbench.

Planning Institute of Australia Chief Executive Officer Kirsty Kelly said the announcement of the Cities and Built Environment portfolio – given to South Australian MP Jamie Briggs – telegraphed the new Prime Minister’s intent for all spheres of government to collaborate in planning for Australia’s future urban and regional growth.

“In announcing his new team the Prime Minister demonstrated his belief that effective future planning for our cities is central to Australia’s economic future, its liveability and its environmental sustainability,” Ms Kelly said.

“This is a significant change in government policy and one we warmly welcome.


“The Prime Minister has already said that the new Minister for Cities and Built Environment Jamie Briggs will work alongside Environment Minister Greg Hunt and Regional Development Minister Warren Truss to ensure that urban and regional development are coordinated and well planned.”

The Planning Institute has long advocated an important role for the Federal Government in cities strategy. In its log of claims ahead of the 2013 election the Planning Institute called for a ‘new deal’ for urban Australia to align productivity, liveability and sustainability. Ms Kelly said the new Prime Minister’s new Cabinet line-up vindicated the Planning Institute’s pre-election position.


“PIA always has and always will argue that good planning is the best way to manage urban growth and to secure essential infrastructure investment, so we are heartened that the new Prime Minister has re-committed the Federal Government to objective decision making processes for infrastructure investments,” Ms Kelly said.

PIA’s National President Brendan Nelson said the Prime Minister’s announcement is a critical step in preparing Australia for a future likely to be shaped by ‘megatrends’ of global significance.

“There’s little doubt that Australia’s future will be shaped by global forces that shouldn’t be left for individual states and territories to deal with individually,” Mr Nelson said.

“Megatrends such as a rapidly ageing population, new technologies and climate change will all impact on the future of our cities and the appointment of a Minister for Cities and the Built Environment is a crucial first step in preparing Australia for the future.


“PIA is already exploring the implications of these megatrends as part of our focus on Australia’s journey towards a population of 50 million.

“We look forward to working with Ministers Briggs, Truss and Hunt in preparing for the challenges of growth and the impact of global megatrends.”




Great to see Prime Minister Turnbull recognise the importance of the City and its place in an advanced economy such as Australia. I believe Turnbull used and still does use public transport to get around the Australian State Capitals something you would never catch our Prime Minister nor his Front Bench ever doing apart from some photo-op.


The difference in the mentality between the Australian Prime Minister and the New Zealand Prime Minister especially when it comes to their treatment of the City is telling. Turnbull understands the importance of the role of the City and is looking at making a go at critical investments to those cities. Key like his Government usually see Auckland as an annoyance and their policies reflect that annoyance rather than the role Auckland (being a sole International City that competes against Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth) has with the rest of New Zealand and thus the world.

That said Labour are not particularly any better at this point in time either in giving recognition to the City but at least they are slowly learning that importance and recognition.


Maybe one day those in Wellington will be visionary towards our own Cities and Built Environments as Turnbull was today.