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'Community and Nation': strategic study for Victoria's gateway to the world

The Prime Minister, Paul Keating, announced today the Commonwealth will provide funds for a major strategic planning study in Victoria under the Better Cities program as part of the Community and Nation Statement.

The Minister for Housing and Regional Development, Brian Howe, said the study will be done on the economic gateway at Melbourne airport, particularly investigating the development of a major trading hub around the airport and the corridor between the airport, the CBD and Melbourne Port.

The study will consider improving land use flexibility, infrastructure, and economic development opportunities through the strategic clustering of activities and businesses associated with ports, airports and transport centres.

"Investment in our economic gateways (the areas between the key economic centres in our cities and our major international gateways, ports and airports) will facilitate Australia's development as an export-oriented economy and make our cities more functional and efficient," Mr Howe said.

"Commonwealth, State and Local Government will work closely in partnership to complete the strategic study."

In the 1995-96 Budget the Commonwealth Government announced it would consolidate its role in the planning and development of cities by providing additional funding through the Better Cities program for the following:

. $5 to 8 million per annum (from 1995-96) over six years to fund strategic planning studies and related development activities in all States and Territories and continued urban research and policy development.

. $200.6 million over four years to fund capital investments in developing and renewing key areas of our major cities as set out in agreed area strategies.

"I am delighted Community and Nation will add a further $80 million in capital funds over the next three years," Mr Howe said.

"Allocation of funding to the States will be on the basis of joint planning outcomes in agreed areas of national significance, rather than on a per capita basis, as for the first stage of the Better Cities program.

"This approach will ensure capital projects are considered in a strategic framework and that proper consideration is given to economic, social and environmental issues."

The Better Cities Program will focus on areas of national significance and has three national priority categories:

. economic 'gateways' to improve access to selected major airports and seaports and land use of those gateways;

. growth management, focussing on areas where growth pressures are causing very substantial environmental and social problems;

. urban renewal, focusing on redevelopment of particular ageing public housing estates.

"The Better Cities program is now a proven means of achieving integrated planning and development in designated areas," Mr Howe said.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:

Andrew Casey, Brian Howe's Office, 018 487 581

FOR COPIES OF THE PRIME MINISTER'S STATEMENT

call the Department of Housing and Regional Development:

06 289 2222