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Planning System Reform and Economic Development: Unpacking Policy Rhetoric and Trajectories in Victoria and New South Wales

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Despite recent resource booms, the Australian economy remains dominated by the urban. In the wake of the post-Global Financial Crisis (GFC) and in the face of falling global commodity prices, the economic functioning of Australian cities is critical to maintaining the unprecedented levels of prosperity that have existed since the mid-1990s. Australian cities are increasingly identified as being vital to facilitating economic growth. Indeed, many of the direct interventions by the previous federal Labor government, aimed at insulating the Australian economy from the worst of the GFC, were urban in nature. At the state level, which has constitutional authority for planning, cities are routinely identified as the drivers of state economies – especially in states which have not been characterized by the export of resources. However, a public and policy discourse has emerged that sees planning policy as restricting and constraining economic performance. This discourse, propelled by peak business groups, the development industry and neoliberal ideologues, insists that urban planning is a barrier to economic growth. The need for greater efficiencies has become so widely accepted that state governments are now engaged in a seemingly endless round of system reviews and reform. Against this background, this paper reviews recent planning reforms initiated in the major Australian states of Victoria and New South Wales.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2016

More about this publication?
  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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