The Federal Government has released the annual State of the Cities report card, concluding that while the nation’s major cities remain among the world’s most liveable, they are increasingly affected by extreme weather events.


The report concluded that cities are also struggling to house the continuing influx of new residents.


Compiled by the Department of Infrastructure and Transport’s Major Cities Unit, the third edition of the annual report aims to provide a better understanding of how the nation’s major population centres function.


The report also identifies the specific initiatives of local councils and state planning authorities which are proving effective at promoting more productive, sustainable and liveable urban communities.


Key findings of the report include:

  •  The gap between population increase and housing supply in Australian cities is now the largest and most sustained in a century.


  • A decline in the number of housing lots produced per capita is occurring across the capital cities but is particularly severe in Sydney. Block size has fallen and the price per square metre has risen sharply.


  • There has also been a marked rise in the premium for living near the CBD of cities. In Sydney and Melbourne, a dwelling close to the CBD has increased more than five-fold in real terms since 1986, while one 50 kilometres from the city centre has only doubled in value.


  • Housing occupancy rates (the average number of people living in a dwelling) plateaued in the mid-2000s, after having fallen steadily for nearly a century. 


  • Most of the industry sectors that are experiencing rapid growth economically are located in CBDs and other dense centres. These industry sectors rely on increasing job densities to drive their productivity.


  • Cities may be beginning to economically shrink in on themselves, reversing the dispersing forces, especially associated with manufacturing, that have been dominant since the end of World War II.


  • The number of kilometres travelled per person in Australian capital cities has declined markedly since peaking in 2005.


  • The per capita freight task in cities is increasing substantially and is likely to become the major driver of urban transport systems.


  • Fare recovery in Australian urban mass transit systems continues to decline, raising questions about the sustainability of current financial structures associated with public transport capital investment and operations.


  • Age distribution in our major cities shows that under 25s have declined proportionally, while there has been a small increase in working age population and a large increase in over 65s.


  • The average labour force participation rate across major cities is 64.8 per cent; however there are significant differences between cities.


  • Major cities have experienced increases in female participation in the paid workforce since 2000, some by more than five per cent.


  • A growing proportion of older people are working past the traditional retirement age in major cities.



The full report can be found here