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MEDIA RELEASE 4 APRIL 2017

Conference to explore how to keep key workers in our cities

Some of the world’s leading experts on urban development and renewal will gather in Melbourne next month to begin the implementation of a new global agenda for sustainable urban development.

In October of last year in Quito, Ecuador, Australia became a signatory to the New Urban Agenda (NUA), the UN’s 20 year road map to help countries rethink how they plan, manage and live in cities.

The conference Implementing the New Urban Agenda: Making Cities and Human Settlements Inclusive, Safe, Resilient and Sustainable will take place at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on 4-5 May 2017.

Group Managing Director of leading not-for-profit housing provider Compass Housing, Greg Budworth said the NUA had implications for Australian policy makers.

“We live in an era of unprecedented urbanisation, but not everyone is sharing the benefits that cities provide,” he said.

“In Australia key workers often find themselves locked out of the housing market in our capital cities. This means our teachers, firefighters, nurses and other essential workers are finding it more and more difficult to afford to live in the communities they serve, particularly if they work in a capital city.

“Housing affordability for those in our most valued professions is an issue governments are looking to tackle and this will be a question experts will be focused on at the Conference in May. If we don’t address this, we will find it more and more difficult to provide essential services in our major metropolitan centres in the future.

“In addition, 40 per cent of people receiving Commonwealth Rent Assistance are still in housing stress and there are 200,000 families on the waiting list for social housing, which is totally unacceptable.  

“Implementing the NUA is about creating policies that improve how cities are formed, how land is used and how resources are managed, with the goal being to make sure our cities work for all residents, not just those in the top income bracket.”

In addition to housing, the NUA conference will feature contributions and workshops on a range of other urban development topics including transport infrastructure, climate change adaptation and access to health services.

The conference will feature a range of world leading experts in the field including:

  • Dr. Joan Clos - Executive Director and Under Secretary General of the United Nations Habitat program
  • Prof. Jason Coburn – Director of the Centre for Global Healthy Cities, University of California, Berkeley.
  • Dr Tim Williams – CEO, Committee for Sydney
  • Jude Munro – Chair, Victoria Planning Authority
  • Professor Darryn McEvoy – Climate Change Adaptation Program, RMIT University




MEDIA RELEASE 27 FEBRUARY 2017

Global sustainable urban development leader to help inform Australian policy direction

One of the world’s most highly respected authorities on urban development and renewal, Dr Joan Clos, Under Secretary-General and Executive Director of the United Nations’ Habitat Program, will visit Australia in May to help Australasian and Pacific region policy-makers and influencers begin developing a plan to implement a new global agenda.

In October of last year in Quito, Ecuador, Australia became a signatory to the New Urban Agenda (NUA), the UN’s 20 year road map for sustainable urban development.

The NUA sets a new standard for sustainable urban development and is designed to help countries rethink how they plan, manage and live in cities.

As a first step towards realising the goals of the NUA here in Australia, leading not-for-profit community housing provider Compass Housing, in association with RMIT University, Victorian Department of the Environment, Land Water and Planning, CoDesign Studio and Eastern Organisation for Planning and Human Settlements (EAROPH), is bringing together representatives from across the region to explore the implications of the new agenda and start work towards delivery of outcomes.

The conference Implementing the New Urban Agenda: Making Cities and Human Settlements Inclusive, Safe, Resilient and Sustainable will take place at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on 4-5 May 2017.

Compass Housing Group Managing Director, Greg Budworth, who was at Quito and worked with UN ambassador Dr Gillian Bird at the NUA meeting, said the Australian Government's adoption of the NUA last October was an important opportunity for housing and urban policy development.

“The conference in Melbourne will provide the first real opportunity in Australasia and the Pacific region for those with an interest in getting urban development right, to start developing an effective and strategic approach without further delay.

“We know our population is growing, it will potentially double in the next 50 years, and this is putting pressure on our urban areas, particularly capital cities. Australian Bureau of Statistics figures suggest two-thirds of Australians currently live in a capital city and this may increase to nearly three-quarters in the relatively near future.

“Housing affordability is already an enormous problem, and there are more than 200,000 families on the waiting list for social housing while 40 per cent of people receiving Commonwealth Rent Assistance are still in housing stress.”

Conference Chair Professor David Adamson said addressing these issues and delivering the key NUA objectives of “cities for all” and “no one left behind” would require the collaboration of a wide range of private, public, academic and not-for-profit agencies.

“Having the head of the UN Habitat Program in attendance in Melbourne is a fantastic opportunity and a sign of the global significance of the event,” he said.

“Dr Clos has had an illustrious career spanning public health, diplomacy, municipal government and urban renewal and will bring powerful insight and enormous practical experience to the task at hand,” he said. 

Professor Ralph Horne of RMIT University said the successful cities of the 21st Century will be those that are resilient, environmentally sustainable, and that ensure participation, equity and a fair go for all.

“This is not a given, and will require significant shifts in our current ways of developing our city housing, infrastructure and social fabric,” he said.

Victoria Government Minister for Energy, Environment, Climate Change & Minister for Suburban Development, Lily D'Ambrosio welcomed the conference to Melbourne.

"This is a fantastic event that will showcase Victoria’s renowned liveability credentials to the world. I look forward to seeing a vibrant debate on how we plan for healthy, sustainable and liveable communities,” she said.

The significance of the conference for the wider Pacific and South East Asian region was noted by Jane Stanley, Australia Chair of EAROPH who said “this Conference provides an opportunity for Australia to demonstrate how it can contribute to the rest of the Asia Pacific region in meeting our commitments for transforming our towns and cities. The New Urban Agenda demands that we find new ways of addressing the challenges of urbanisation.”

Dr Joan Clos
is the Under Secretary-General and Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat). He is a medical doctor with a distinguished career in public service and diplomacy. He was twice elected Mayor of Barcelona, serving two terms from 1997 until 2006 and is a leading authority on urban renewal.

Greg Budworth is the Group Managing Director of Compass Housing Services and co-chair of the United Nations Habitat III Civil Society Partner Constituent Group.

Professor David Adamson OBE is the Research and Development Manager at Compass Housing Services and Emeritus Professor of the University of South Wales in the UK where he held the position of Chair of Community and Social Policy. 

Professor Ralph Horne is Director of the UN Global Compact-Cities Programme and Deputy Pro Vice- Chancellor, Research and Innovation, College of Design and Social Context at RMIT University.

Jane Stanley is vice president of the Australian Chapter of the Eastern Regional Organisation for Planning and Human Settlements (EAROPH).