Conference to explore how to keep key workers in our cities

03 Apr 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

A full list of speakers and the provisional program is available on the conference website

[ENDS] 4 April 2017

Media contact: Martin Kennedy 0418 353 913