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    Government establishes urban design protocol for Australian cities

    The State of Australian Cities 2011

    The report was released by Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese, who said it brings together a raft of new data that compares our cities with each other and cities internationally.

    It identifies specific initiatives of local councils and state planning authorities which are proving effective at promoting more productive, sustainable and liveable urban communities.

    Albanese also announced that states, territories and eligible councils can now submit an application for funding under a program from the Government's Action Plan for Our Cities contained in this year’s Budget, designed to trial new, potential solutions to urban sprawl, congestion, a lack of affordable housing and carbon pollution.

    The Program, initially worth $20 million, offers up to $500,000 for innovative planning and design initiatives and up to $4 million for demonstration projects.

    Key Changes in Australian Cities since 2010:

    • The gap between housing supply and demand is general across Australia - a short fall of 200,000 new homes - but is particularly severe in Sydney.
    • There’s now emerging evidence of a major change in how people are getting around their communities, with per capita vehicle travel down by around one percentage point and aggregate travel beginning to stabilise.
    • The shift to public transport and active travel such walking and cycling has continued, with more than 11.5 million bicycles sold in the period between 2001 and 2010 - 2 million more than cars.
    • Net overseas migration has fallen by more than 25 per cent from 453,000 (2008) to 331,000 (2010).
    • Cities north of the Queensland/NSW border are growing faster than those to the south, an indication that the historical northward shift in Australia’s population shows no signs of abating.
    • Melbourne is growing faster than Sydney, having increased its population by more than 600,000 between 2001 and 2010 while Sydney’s grew by less than 450,000 over the same period.
    • The relatively uninterrupted trend since 1994 of fewer people per household has become confused in the last year suggesting that housing affordability may be encouraging young people to stay living in the family home longer or join share houses.
    • Unemployment has decreased slightly from 5.5 per cent to 5.1 per cent but there are still major differences between cities, ranging from less than 2 per cent in Darwin to more than 8 per cent in Wollongong.
    • Since 2006, and for the first time since the keeping of accurate records, Australians have been consuming less energy and water while also cutting their household waste. Last year alone, energy consumption (mainly electricity) fell 1.2 percentage points.

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