AHURI BRIEF

Australian City Deals in focus

Examining the key initiatives of the nine current Australian city deals

10 August 2020

Within national policy frameworks, City Deals have emerged as primary vehicles for the Commonwealth to fund ‘catalytic infrastructure investments’ while also driving ‘urban governance and land use reform’. City Deals are also nominated as an important mechanism for the Commonwealth to support regions in accommodating population growth and change.

At the end of 2019 nine City Deals had been announced: Townsville, Launceston, Darwin, Hobart, Adelaide, Perth, South East Queensland, Western Sydney and Geelong.

Australian City Deals (to July 2020)Key initiatives

Adelaide City Deal

A ten year agreement between the Australian Government, the Government of South Australia and the City of Adelaide

Signed: 19 March 2019

  • Invest in Lot Fourteen, the former site of the Royal Adelaide Hospital as a hub for research, innovation, and entrepreneurialism in technology and the arts
  • Put in place investment and strategies to connect Lot Fourteen to the rest of the Adelaide city centre and metropolitan Adelaide, so that investment at Lot Fourteen benefits the whole of the Adelaide community
  • Support growth of South Australia’s skilled workforce and industries at the forefront of innovation and cutting edge technologies
  • Support cultural and environmental projects in Adelaide’s suburbs through new facilities and technology that grow the local tourism sector

Darwin City Deal

A ten year plan between the Australian and Northern Territory Governments, together with the City of Darwin

Signed: 16 November 2018

  • A new Education and Civic Precinct, including a new Charles Darwin University city campus, to transform the city centre, attract more international students to Darwin, boost retail activity and increase vibrancy in the CBD
  • A redeveloped and greener State Square to cool the city, making it more liveable and increasing space for outdoor events and festivals, ensuring Darwin is a vibrant tropical capital
  • Innovations to cool and green the city, along with promoting climate-appropriate design, to help change the face of Darwin, transforming it into a best-practice example of tropical urban living
  • Support for the Larrakia people as the traditional owners of Darwin
  • Activation of Darwin's harbour foreshore unlocking the potential of dormant sites in Darwin, such as the Stokes Hill 'Tank Farm', to better activate the harbour foreshore

Geelong City Deal

A ten year plan with the Australian and Victorian Governments, together with the City of Greater Geelong, to deliver $370 million in investment to the region

Signed: 11 March 2019

  • Revitalise Geelong
  • Unlock the potential of the Great Ocean Road visitor economy
  • Support Geelong’s continued economic diversification, growth of the visitor economy and a thriving city centre

Hobart City Deal

A ten year vision between the Australian and Tasmanian Governments and the Clarence, Glenorchy, Hobart and Kingborough councils

Signed: 24 February 2019

  • Enhance the Hobart Airport's role as a direct international gateway
  • Solidify Hobart's world class standing as a gateway to the Antarctic and Southern Ocean
  • Establish a reliable, sustainable and cost effective transport system
  • Deliver a diverse range of affordable housing options
  • Establish governance to support better strategic planning for the city and
  • Invest to support Hobart as a smart, liveable and investment ready city

Launceston City Deal

A ten-year plan between the Australian and Tasmanian Governments and the City of Launceston

Signed: 20 April 2017

  • Revitalise the city
  • Improve access to education and employment opportunities
  • Innovation and industry engagement
  • Create a healthy Tamar Estuary

Perth City Deal

The Australian Government will work with the Western Australian Government and the City of Perth to settle the commitments

Announced: 15 December 2019

  • The Australian Government committing $30 million towards the revitilisation of the WACA
  • Create an energised CBD for people to work, live and play through higher population density and an economic boost to city businesses

City Deal for South East Queensland (SEQ)

The Australian Government in partnership with Queensland Government and the Council of Mayors (SEQ)

Signed: 12 February 2019

The Statement of Intent is centred on six priority areas:

  • Connecting infrastructure
  • Jobs and skills
  • Liveability and sustainability
  • Housing and planning
  • Digital
  • Governance and leadership

Townsville City Deal

A 15 year commitment between Australian Government, Queensland Government) and Townsville City Council

Signed: 13 June 2016

  • Completion of the North Queensland Stadium
  • Water supply improvements
  • Port of Townsville Channel Upgrade project
  • Opening of the Townsville City Bus Hub

Western Sydney City Deal

A partnership between the Australian Government, NSW Government, and local governments of the Blue Mountains, Camden, Campbelltown, Fairfield, Hawkesbury, Liverpool, Penrith and Wollondilly

Signed: 20 June 2016

  • Realise the 30-minute city by delivering the Sydney Metro–Western Sydney Airport (formerly the North South Rail Link)
  • Create 200,000 jobs by supercharging the Aerotropolis and agribusiness precinct as catalysts.
  • Skill residents in the region and initiating an Aerospace Institute
  • Respect and building on local character through a $190 million Liveability Program
  • Coordination and innovation through a Planning Partnership
  • Deliver for the Western Parkland City with enduring tri-level governance

Focus on the Western Sydney City Deal

The Western Sydney City Deal (WSCD) provides a 20-year framework for coordinating existing and new investment, planning and infrastructure provision across federal and state governments and the eight local councils within the Western Parkland City.

The 38 commitments listed in the deal focus on ‘a liveable 30-minute city, with infrastructure and facilities that bring residents closer to jobs, services, education and the world’. The deal anticipates 200,000 new jobs, largely stimulated by the Western Sydney Aerotropolis (based around the Western Sydney Airport at Badgery’s Creek), and a series of initiatives around industry investment, agribusiness, science and technology, and higher education are being progressed.

Improved connectivity through public transport investment is a key theme, with the centrepiece being a North South Rail Link. The NSW state government has also committed to establishing rapid bus services from the centres of Liverpool, Penrith and Campbelltown to the Western Sydney International Airport.

Western Sydney City Deal commitments

CommitmentsFinancial commitments
Connectivity (infrastructure)
  • $100 million ($50 million each from Australian/NSW governments)
Connectivity (digital and smart technology)
  • $20,000 per council for Digital Action Plan
  • Existing agency resources/future government budget processes
Jobs for the Future
  • $12 million (NSW Government)
  • Staffing by NSW Department of Industry (Investment Office)
  • $5 million Investment Attraction Fund (NSW Government)
  • $8 million Indigenous small business and skills package (NSW Department of Industry)
Skills and Education
  • Existing agency resources/future government budget processes
Liveability and Environment
  • $150 million ($60 million each from Australian/NSW governments, $30 million from councils)
  • $60 million for Centre of Innovation in Plant Sciences at Mt Annan (NSW Government)
Planning and Housing
  • $30 million ‘housing package’ ($15 million each from Australian/NSW governments)
Implementation and Governance
  • Existing agency resources
  • Long term governance led by the NSW Government in cooperation with the Australian and local governments

Source: AHURI Final Report No. 331

Australian city deals have been influenced by the UK City Deals. The UK model along with other international place-based deals are examined in this AHURI Brief.