National Cities Performance Framework

Wednesday, 20 December, 2017

The Australian Government has launched the country’s first National Cities Performance Framework to track the progress and performance of our largest cities.

The framework is published on a dashboard at to assist governments, industry and the community to better target cities policy and investments. Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation Angus Taylor said the framework was about encouraging individual cities to improve outcomes.

The initial focus of the framework is on Australia’s 21 largest cities — each with a population above 80,000.

“The timing of this is fantastic because we’ve just got a really comprehensive dataset from the most recent Australian census, which allows us to see the most updated picture of the economic and growth profile of these cities,” Assistant Minister Taylor said.

“The 30-minute city metric, for instance, is new connectivity data which hasn’t been applied before. And we’re going to keep adding new data, because we know there’s great information coming out of not just the public sector, but the private sector.

The framework contains 46 indicators and draws on nationally consistent, comparable and reliable datasets.

Key indicators include:

  • ‘Jobs accessible in 30 minutes’ — access to jobs is a key driver of accessibility and quality of life in our cities.  On average across our largest cities, 85.4% of jobs are accessible within 30 minutes by car.
  • ‘Housing price to income ratio’ — a lack of affordable housing can weigh on a city’s economic performance and can undermine social cohesion and exacerbate wealth inequality. On average across our largest cities, a median-priced dwelling costs 6.2 times the median annual household income.
  • ‘Access to green space’ — accessibility to green space can provide opportunities for recreation and exercise, improve air quality and reduce urban heat island effects. On average, across our largest cities approximately 80% of dwellings in Australia’s cities are within 400 metres of green space.
  • ‘Business creation’— in a dynamic, innovative economy we expect a high rate of business creation. We need this vitality for our cities to thrive in a fast-paced and competitive global environment. Across Australia’s largest cities, the average business entry rate is 13.9% per year.
  • ‘Employment growth’ — being in paid work affects the strength of a city’s economy and has important implications for a person’s economic, social and emotional wellbeing. On average, across our largest cities, employment growth is 2.6%.
  • ‘Youth unemployment’ — as well as an income, people gain a sense of worth from their work and enjoy greater opportunities for social engagement, which enhances both mental and physical wellbeing. On average, the rate of youth unemployment across our largest cities is 11.9%.

“The creation of the National Cities Performance Framework has involved exhaustive exploration, research and consultation to identify and secure the best city-level datasets and indicators we could find,” Assistant Minister Taylor said.

“This framework reflects the Australian Government’s commitment to open and accessible data sharing.”

The framework is a living resource to be improved over time through annual updates and three yearly reviews. This will ensure it continues to reflect best available information and provides a strong evidence base to guide new investments and reforms in our cities.

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