Campaign challenges Labor’s spending

IN an orchestrated bid in an election year, to put pressure on the ACT Government about Canberra’s liveability and housing affordability, the ACT Property Council has drawn other local business and industry groups, community groups and unions to support its “Make My City Work” campaign.

The online, national campaign, described by ACT Property Council executive director Catherine Carter as a “community call to action”, has drawn information from the Auspol report “My City: The People’s Verdict 2011” and the Property Council’s new “Our Nation” app, which uses the same data used by the Federal Government’s Productivity Commission.

Through the website, “Make My City Work”, people can discuss ideas and concerns about housing, jobs, lifestyle, infrastructure and sustainability.

“This is coming out of the heat of desperation about broken infrastructure and lack of planning,” Ms Carter said.

“We know population is growing and getting older, but there’s no action plan for that from any government at all, including our own government.”

According to the Auspol report, Canberra rated as the second most liveable city, Despite this, the results show that 61 per cent of residents believe the Government is doing a poor or very poor job in terms of making housing more affordable.

The report shows that 51 per cent believe the Government does a poor job of setting a fair level of tax when buying or selling.

Ms Carter said ahead of the election, now’s the time for the Government to put in place policies that can make a positive change to the liveability of Canberra.

“Canberra is a very liveable city and, by and large, ask any Canberran that and that’s what they’ll say,” she said.

“We don’t have some of the problems of other cities, we don’t have broken infrastructure like Sydney has got. But we do have our own problem. Housing affordability is our major challenge and barrier for people coming here and staying.”

Ms Carter says although the Government is in the process of finalising the ACT Planning Strategy, the Territory is missing a long-term infrastructure plan.

“The ACT Government are putting less and less into infrastructure as the years go by,” she said.

“One thing is they are financially restrained and the other one is they don’t have a plan…

“This is why having a dedicated infrastructure commissioner is the right idea.

“The fact that the ACT Government were contemplating building their own office block for $432 million, whether they stated it or not, makes that their number one infrastructure project. How was that determined to be so?

“The Government has made the pragmatic decision to not proceed with that building on that basis, but how was it determined that over all these things that we need in the Territory, that was the number one thing?

“There needs to be an infrastructure plan with someone at the helm looking at what the priorities are.”

The council’s “Our Nation” free app, launched this week, uses demographics drawn on the same data used by the Federal Government’s Productivity Commission, to make projections into the nation’s future.

According to the app data collected, Canberra is heading towards becoming one of the oldest populations in the country.

“One of the biggest problems here in Canberra is young people leave, we have the best schools in the country, world’s best universities, lowest unemployment in the country and, in spite of this, young people leave in droves,” Ms Carter said.

“Why is this so?”

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