The Federal Government has announced the formation of a new National Urban Policy, providing $181.4 million designed to ‘progress a range of practical measures which will promote more productive, sustainable and liveable cities.’

Our Cities, Our Future - a National Urban Policy Framework outlines the Federal Government’s objectives for the nation’s 18 major cities, which it identifies as the ‘engine rooms of growth, innovation and opportunity’.

To progress implementation of the Framework, the 2011-12 Budget puts in place an Action Plan for Our Cities with an initial down-payment of $181.4 million over four years for:

  • A Sustainable Australia - Liveable Cities and Urban Renewal Program - $20 million - to leverage additional resources from state and territory governments as well as local councils for innovative solutions to poor urban design, high levels of car dependency, traffic congestion, a lack of open space and rising carbon emissions.
  • A Sustainable Australia - National Smart Managed Motorways Trial to be developed by Infrastructure Australia and involving the retrofitting of smart technology to improve traffic flows along motorways and outer city roads, with $61.4 million available to co-fund projects with those states and territories which sign the national transport reforms.

Although the Federal Budget has seen an overall increase in jobs in the Australian Public Service, a temporary rise in the public sector efficiency dividend from 1.25 per cent to 1.5 per cent from July for the next two years is expected to result in some job losses across the Service. 

CSIRO and the CSIRO Staff Association are nearing agreement on the new Enterprise Agreement, following months of negotiations and stop work meetings.

The Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs has recommended that legislation introduced by the Australian Greens to end federal control over territory laws be passed by the Senate.

The Federal and Northern Territory Governments have announced a $30 million package to provide sustained employment for up to 530 Indigenous Australians.

The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) is calling for the Federal Government to stick to its promise not to increase the efficiency dividend as a way of balancing the budget.

Australian Government agencies will be required to publish increased amounts of information on their websites under a number of alterations to existing freedom of information laws.

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