Canberra’s role as a brilliant city

08 March 2018

More than two-thirds of Australians now live in our capital cities, largely due to half of all recent Australian job creation occurring within 2km of Sydney and Melbourne’s CBDs

This has happened without the required infrastructure planning, causing traffic chaos and long commutes.

Sydney and Melbourne’s problems are an important lesson for Canberra, Brisbane and other growing metropolitan centres. That’s why we’re acting now on public transport to avoid becoming gridlocked like Sydney and Melbourne as we grow.

By 2030, 500,000 people will call Canberra home. We’re already the centre of a region of a million people.

In just over a decade Canberra will be a major Australian city, not just its national capital.

More importantly, we will be an emerging, brilliant global city.


Brilliant cities must first deliver on the basics: quality services that keep up and improve as communities grow; a strong and secure jobs market; and a choice of affordable housing options.

In Canberra, we’re growing our key services for a growing city; encouraging our own higher education institutions to expand; increasing housing options to include town centre apartment living and townhouses; and expanding our public transport system.

In the 21st century, cities can’t thrive as islands. Better connecting our cities will increase productivity, social cohesion and job opportunities.

In the ACT, we’re successfully attracting more international and domestic airline connections, advocating for better rail links (particularly between Canberra and Sydney), and confidently selling ourselves to the nation and the world.

Canberra International Airport

Canberra can be a leader in city innovation. We will continue to embrace change and new opportunities, while managing risk.

We will grow our services for our growing city but we will be smart about it. We must be innovative with service delivery – for example, we’re bringing health care to our suburbs through nurse-led walk in centres.

This year, as Chair of the Council of Australian Federation and Chair of the Council of Capital City Lord Mayors, I want Canberra to be known for our long-term policy planning and our innovation in technology and procurement.

I want cities and State and Territory Governments to work together across geographical boundaries and political lines to create more productive cities.

Canberra is an emerging brilliant city because we are progressive, inclusive, welcoming, adapt well to technological and social change, and embrace new ideas.