When a dwelling requires four or more extra bedrooms to reasonably accommodate occupants, the standard commonly used in Australia defines that as severe overcrowding. In 2011, 41,390 Australians lived in severely overcrowded dwellings, an increase of one-third from 2006. This increase occurred mostly in cities where house prices had risen sharply.
Our recent research, to be published soon, examined where overcrowded housing is located in our capital cities. We found:
Sydney and Melbourne are most affected by concentrated overcrowding
levels of overcrowding are highest in middle-city areas (except in Adelaide)
This article was originally published in The Conversation by Garry Bowditch.
Calls to lift the GST rate to placate the states financial challenges will serve to only exacerbate an already severe vertical fiscal imbalance and prolong a deeply unsatisfactory chapter in Australia’s Federation.
The Abbott government is preparing to give Sydney’s WestConnex road project a A$2 billion boost in this week’s federal budget, part of a broader $10 billion infrastructure package aimed at boosting productivity and private sector investment.
At the same time, the Commission noted that no evidence exists to support such a proposition. A more important unanswered question remains – what conditions are necessary to attract foreign firms to help Australia deliver cheaper, faster and better infrastructure?
Looking abroad for solutions can solve some problems, but in the case of infrastructure, Australia must first do some necessary and overdue housekeeping before multinational construction companies would be interested in pursuing a long-term presence in the country.
Australia spends more on infrastructure today than at any stage in its history. Yet governments are unable to meet demand and don’t expect ever to do so. What can governments do to keep up with escalating demand and community expectations for infrastructure?
Infrastructure is about the long-term growth and prosperity of a nation, but Australia will get very little of this benefit if the cost of building it continues to rapidly escalate.
Australia is becoming increasingly uncompetitive in design and delivery of major projects. This is an unacceptable situation, and a newly commissioned multi-state inquiry by the SMART Infrastructure Facility will identify the key causes and make recommendations to help secure better value for taxpayers’ money. Continue reading →
If you listen to the debate between science and society in most of the West, you get one version or another of the linear model. Science comes first. When it is “settled”, society will know what to do. This is as true in the climate debate as it is in innovation. First comes the “breakthrough” and then the widget gets commercialised. Much of the economic development of the West has been driven by this “knowledge based” worldview.
It worked quite well when the problems were simple and the benefits easily captured – from steam engines to early antibiotics – but the world is changing. Now, the interaction between society, the economy and the environment is much more complex and recursive. Growth and development have changed the world and knowledge of that change is, in turn, changing our response. Knowledge and society interact.
I sometimes wonder what planet this country of ours is on. The environmental debate we are having seems to be in a parallel universe to the rest of the world. Having spent the last four years running one of Europe’s biggest environmental research laboratories, the Lancaster Environment Centre, I find Australia strangely out of kilter.
All I hear here is apocalyptic gloom and doom: either the planet is done for if we don’t act, or the economy is done for if we do! We have a highly polarised debate and even more polarised reporting; with too much hand-wringing and head-banging but too little rational discussion or consultation about what actually to do. Doing nothing isn’t an option.
The splendour of nature diminishes day by day despite the strenuous efforts of ecologists and all manner of scientific understandings and interventions. Biodiversity is in decline, and crucial resources become ever scarcer. Meanwhile the human population continues to rise, as do atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and long-term global temperatures.
Governments, corporations, and community groups all over the world invest in conservation and restoration programmes, but to depressingly little end. Obviously far more could be spent and far more could be done, but that would be no guarantee of success – not when our very approach to ecology is fundamentally flawed and wrong-headed.