Property Australia

City Deals set for a shakeup


Cities are the pinnacle of social, cultural, and economic activity for any nation, and as cities change and evolve, so too do their funding and infrastructure requirements.

For over five years, the federal, state, and local governments of respective cities have signed onto City Deals to funnel investment and opportunities into growing communities across the country. City Deals are an implementation tool that allows all levels of government to collaborate to design and achieve outcomes for Australian cities.

Queensland is in the forefront of City Deals in Australia, having signed Australia's first City Deal (Townsville) in December 2016 and Australia's newest City Deal (SEQ) in 2022.

To date nine City Deals have been agreed: Townsville, Launceston, Western Sydney, Darwin, Hobart, Geelong, Adelaide, Perth and South East Queensland.

The $1.8 billion SEQ City Deal is a prime example of what a City Deal hopes to achieve. 

It will deliver more than 30 projects from Brisbane to Toowoomba, Ipswich, and the Sunshine Coast, with the goal of improving the region's transportation and digital networks as well as its liveability to accommodate a growing population.

It was an announcement welcomed by Queensland Executive Director of the Property Council Jen Williams when it was formalised earlier this year, saying the city deal was “just what is needed for South East Queensland”.

Since the trilateral agreement was signed in March, we have had a change of government and with it a change in ideas and priorities.

As part of its election platform, Labor promised to “invest in our cities and suburbs to make them more productive, sustainable and liveable” and turn the City Deals into City Partnerships. 

Property Council Group Executive of Policy and Advocacy Mike Zorbas said Infrastructure Minister Catherine King has a strong agenda, with cities now sitting under her portfolio.

Labor’s plan includes the following:

  • Revitalise our CBDs.
  • Renew the independent role of Infrastructure Australia and create an Australian Cities and Suburbs unit.
  • Produce an annual state of the cities report to inform policy-making with evidence.
  • Deliver a new National Urban Policy framework.
  • Give local government a voice in a meaningful National Cabinet process.


“Perhaps the most important part of the Minister’s stated mandate is to ‘transform City Deals into genuine City Partnerships promoting genuine collaboration between the three levels of government, business and the community,” Zorbas said.

“City Deals have come a long way since the Property Council first championed their introduction to Australia more than a decade ago.”

Zorbas said both major parties have rightly recognised the role of all levels of government in getting joined up outcomes for our cities.

“Some previous City Deals have been a real partnership to deliver substantial public benefits like the Sydney Aerotroplis and the SEQ deals,” he said. “Others have been simpler and less effective.

“This presents the Minister with a terrific opportunity to uplift the productivity of her revitalised City Partnerships.”

Zorbas said City Partnerships can be improved with more robust targets for new jobs, new housing delivery, as well as sustainability and digital enablement metrics. 

“We have a strong role in championing these ideas as the new Government begins to work out how best to deliver their agenda,” he said.

“Likewise, future National Urban Policy frameworks need to prioritise productive planning and housing supply as a responsibility of all levels of government. 

“These outcomes, so essential to the health of our cities, will also be a key part of the upcoming National Housing and Homelessness Plan and supply forecasting that the government will design over the next 12 months. 

“We are very much looking forward to helping the Government get the most out of the opportunities their policy agenda presents.”

Tags: City Deals