Metropolitan Planning and NBN: A comparative policy analysis, Sydney vs. Brisbane
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The Australian government is currently constructing a National Broadband Network (NBN), which at an estimated cost of $43 billion will be Australia's largest ever infrastructure project. The NBN, if its full benefits are to be realized, raises a number of important but to date largely unexplored questions for planning in Australia. This paper investigates the implications of the NBN for Australian metropolitan planning, and the extent and quality of current metropolitan planning in recognizing, planning for, and exploiting the NBN to improve urban outcomes in Australian cities. The paper focuses on the Sydney and Brisbane metropolitan areas, and analyzes the major strategic and policy documents shaping the future of these regions during the rollout and post construction periods of the NBN. Sydney's metropolitan strategic documents strongly assert its global position and seek a fair distribution of resources at the local scale. Brisbane, in contrast, is the heart of Australia's fastest growing region (South East Queensland) where metro-regional planning is assisting to facilitate and guide urban growth. A comparative analysis of the strategies and policies for Sydney and Brisbane reveals similarities in their weak stance towards the NBN and telecommunications generally. Some key findings include: a segregation of infrastructure planning and metropolitan planning; a lack of consistency between different policies within each metropolitan area; and policy gaps regarding the role of telecommunications at the metropolitan level. Considering the large size of the NBN investment, this paper is appropriately timed and addresses policy issues that will impact upon future metropolitan planning in Australia.
State of Australian Cities National Conference 2011
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Land Use and Environmental Planning