ACT Labor’s plan to position Canberra as the centre of a strong region

On average, Canberrans are the best educated, best paid and healthiest people in Australia.

Every year we are investing record levels of funding in our community, building a stronger local health system, investing in better schools and teachers, maintaining a strong local economy and creating more local jobs than ever before.

As we commence our second century as a city we must grasp the opportunity that it presents to grow our reputation as an economic and services regional hub.

Canberra sits at the heart of the Australian Capital Region (ACR), a region comprising the ACT and 17 surrounding local government areas1.  With a population of more than 613,000 people at June 2011, the ACR is a region of increasing strategic importance, forming a major section of the key Sydney-Canberra corridor.

ACT Labor wants to see our region prosper and for Canberra to continue to play a key role in the future of our city and our region.

Canberra has many strengths to build on – our highly educated population, our world class research institutions and universities, our emerging role as the health service sector for the SE region of NSW, all this within the setting of an internationally renowned planned city, the capital of Australia, home to the Federal Government and many national cultural institutions.

ACT Labor has already forged strong relationships with surrounding councils and the NSW Government to ensure that we have better integrated planning of major infrastructure and services.

We will work to make Canberra a centre of excellence in education and research, and a regional centre for services and facilities.

ACT Labor will create a new portfolio of Regional Development to ensure the vital work to achieve this outcome is done.  We will work closely with both the ANU and the University of Canberra to forge new research possibilities.

Canberra already has the capacity to progress this important research.  But there is more to do.

If re-elected ACT Labor will provide $1 million to secure the long term future of the Canberra Urban and Regional Futures (CURF) which will enable further collaboration between government, research , business and community organisations across Canberra and the region.

Like every one of ACT Labor’s policies, CURF is aligned to our economic and jobs vision.  It is ACT Labor’s plan to position ourselves as the undisputed economic heart of the region.


Policy costings

ACT Labor will secure the longer term future of CURF by providing $1 million funding over the next four years in recurrent funding.

This core funding will enable CURF to use the best available expertise to undertake key projects such as a Regional Spatial Plan for Canberra and the Australian Capital Region, and the North Canberra Transformative Project.  These interdisciplinary projects will directly support an ACT Labor Government in establishing lead practice in urban and regional futures and sustainable development.

ACT Labor’s plan to position Canberra as the centre of a strong region



2014 -2015

2015 – 2016

2016 – 2017














* This amount is based on CURF securing an additional $0.05m from the University of Canberra

What is CURF?

Canberra Urban and Regional Futures (CURF) is an initiative founded by the Australian National University’s Climate Change Institute and the University of Canberra’s Urban and Regional Planning School.  It is a vehicle for collaboration between government, research, business and community organisations across Canberra and the surrounding Australian Capital Region (ACR).  It focuses on a broad range of planning and sustainability issues, undertaking research of enormous value in informing Government policy to tackle the challenges presented by our urban environment.

CURF connects research, education and public policy to generate new solutions to complex urban and regional problems. It has undertaken two major research projects in its first year, one focussing on the future of Canberra’s inner north and the other on the development of a spatial plan for the region.

The ACT Government has been a collaborating partner of CURF since its establishment and is keen to secure its longer term future through on-going funding.

The ACT Labor Government is delighted to partner CURF and support it in its leading edge research into the challenges facing our urban and regional environment. Along with the University of Canberra and the Australian National University we will provide the resources to enable CURF to undertake its research program to help inform Government policy around urban and regional development.

This funding secures for the organisation a wealth of knowledge and experience across the areas of climate science and environment, and public health and wellbeing.  The research will be invaluable for the Government in developing evidence-based policy in planning for a more sustainable future.

29 September 2012

1The 17 local government areas are Bega Valley, Bombala, Boorowa, Cootamundra, Cooma-Monaro, Eurobodalla, Goulburn-Mulwaree, Gundagai, Harden, Palerang, Queanbeyan, Snowy River, Tumbarumba, Tumut, Upper Lachlan, Yass Valley and Young.