Australia’s success in the 21st century economy depends on our cities, suburbs and regional centres.

Australia’s most valuable resource is our human capital. Our people — their ideas, skills, experience and enterprise — are the driving force of productivity growth and our future prosperity. Great cities attract, retain and develop talent — our bright minds and businesses — facilitating job creation and supporting growth. Increasingly our cities compete on a global stage, and the liveability of a city can be the determining factor in a city’s success.

Today, Australia’s cities are amongst the world’s most liveable. While the opportunities have never been greater, every city has its own fingerprint, its own DNA, and a one size fits all approach will not work. Congestion and affordability can be critical in capital and major cities with strong growth. In contrast, many regional cities perform well across measures of liveability but can suffer from more limited local employment opportunities.

By understanding the diverse make up of Australia’s largest metropolitan and regional cities we can tailor local solutions.

The Turnbull Government’s Smart Cities Plan is committed to creating the foundations for success across all Australia’s cities and regional centres. Delivering on this commitment starts with common goals, agreed across governments, and an ability to measure their delivery over time. The National Cities Performance Framework supports this approach, measuring the performance of Australia’s largest cities.

The Performance Framework is the first official cities performance framework of its kind in Australia, bringing together critical data in an easily accessible online format. In one location, you will be able to track the performance of cities across key measures: jobs and skills; infrastructure and investment; liveability and sustainability; innovation and digital opportunities; governance, planning and regulation; and housing. The Performance Framework will support all levels of government to better target, monitor and evaluate cities policy.

As Professor Greg Clark observes in his international preface, a common evidence base is key to understanding the opportunities and challenges facing our cities.

The high quality of the Performance Framework reflects an exhaustive exploration, research and consultation process to secure the best city data sets Australia has to offer. But, the Performance Framework is also a living resource that will be improved over time, through continuous improvement, structured around annual updates and three yearly reviews. The Government will work closely with all levels of government, industry and the community to drive these improvements. This will include drawing on resources made available through the Government’s open data initiatives, including, NationalMap and the Data Integration Partnership Australia.

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