Government listening to experts on urban policy

The Albanese Government has appointed the Chair and members that will form the new Urban Policy Forum.

It will be chaired by Professor Barbara Norman. Professor Norman is Emeritus Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Canberra, and Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University Institute for Climate, Energy and Disaster Solutions.

The other Forum members are:

  • Neil Argent – Professor of Human Geography at the University of New England
  • Rufus Black – Vice-Chancellor of the University of Tasmania
  • Sally Capp – Lord Mayor of Melbourne and Chair of the Council of Capital City Lord Mayors
  • Bronwen Clark – Chief Executive Officer of the National Growth Areas Alliance
  • Matt Collins MPIA – Chief Executive Officer of the Planning Institute of Australia
  • Elle Davidson – Aboriginal Planning Lecturer at the University of Sydney
  • Michael Fotheringham – Managing Director of the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute
  • Rebecca Moore – Western Australian Government Architect
  • Davina Rooney – Chief Executive Officer of the Green Building Council of Australia
  • Alison Scotland – Executive Director of the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council
  • Rob Stokes – former NSW Minister for Infrastructure, Cities and Active Transport
  • Mike Zorbas – Chief Executive Officer of the Property Council of Australia.

Collectively, members’ expertise covers a range of crucial areas including sustainable development, planning, climate change adaption, urban governance, local government, liveability, migration, housing and building design.

The establishment of the Forum was announced in the recent 2023–24 Federal Budget, where the Government also confirmed it will also develop the first comprehensive National Urban Policy in over a decade.

A new Cities and Suburbs Unit is being established to deliver the National Urban Policy as well as regular State of the Cities reports, which will provide an accurate and up-to-date picture of life in our biggest cities.

The Budget also established the $200 million Thriving Suburbs Program and $150 million urban Precincts and Partnerships Program to deliver examples of best-practice investment in urban infrastructure, connecting people and communities to services and opportunities that improve liveability and inclusion.

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Quotes attributable to Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister Catherine King:

“The Albanese Government has moved quickly to establish the Urban Policy Forum – putting experts back at the heart of our cities and urban policy.

“This group of professionals will make a real contribution to the Commonwealth’s revitalised approach to urban policy, bring expertise in the urgent challenges facing our cities and suburbs.

“The people who call our suburbs home deserve cities that work for them – from affordable housing, access to jobs and services, efficient transport networks and better designed neighbourhoods.”