Urban Planning Development

Australian Heartlands: Making space for hope in the suburbs by Brendan Gleeson

By Brendan Gleeson

The inaugural winner of The Iremonger Award for Writing on Public concerns, it is a provocative exploration of urbanised Australia and a passionate plea for the suburbs to take delivery of their rightful position in Australia's public realization.

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Extra resources for Australian Heartlands: Making space for hope in the suburbs

Sample text

By 2030 . . 24 The remarkable political survival of Australia’s relatively progressive direct taxation regime during phase two helped to underscore the continuing redistribution of income from rich to poor. This further restrained the underlying drift to segregation produced by an increasingly liberalised economy and labour market. The proposals from conservative political interests in 2005 for further structural reforms that would lessen the progressive nature of the tax system and for new tightening of welfare eligibility (especially the Disability Support Pension) highlight the fragility of the current income fault lines.

25 The Melbourne architect Robyn Boyd feared that droll suburban living was changing the Australian character for the worse. 26 Mrs (later Dame) Edna Everage, Barry Humphries’ clown suburban duchess, fixed upon and parodied those same fears. The suburban defence team, led by the historian and economist Hugh Stretton, laughed off the rebukes and pointed to the progressive not reactionary qualities of suburbia. In his landmark 1970 study, Ideas for Australian Cities, Stretton cast ‘Australia as a suburb’.

41 Australia now has enormous and growing public housing waiting lists that reflect broad pressures in our urban housing markets and the inability and/or unwillingness of governments to invest adequately in the supply and maintenance of social housing. 42 But the figure masks a much larger level of urgent and growing housing need—many poor households simply don’t bother to join the queues for public housing, knowing they face years of waiting and official indifference. 44 Most of these people are struggling in the major cities.

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