- The government of Australia has launched its first database, the National Cities Performance Framework, to track the productivity and progress of its 21 largest cities.
- Cities will be evaluated based on performance and context in six priority areas: jobs and skills, housing, infrastructure and investment, livability and sustainability, innovation and digital opportunities and governance, planning and regulation.
- The open online dashboard will start by using data collected during the 2016 Census, but data from both the public and private sectors will be added through annual updates.
Australia's new framework evaluates performance in six core areas, but there are 46 secondary indicators, including housing affordability, access to green space and youth unemployment.
The system shows the federal government's commitment to open and accessible data. It will allow all levels of government — plus the private sector and the greater community — to better monitor and evaluate cities' policies and investments. The system is favorable because it compiles consistent, reliable and comparable datasets in an easily accessible online format. It provides an easier way to find areas where cities are falling short and the best areas to target for investments.
Although one operational approach does not work for all cities, this framework will allow municipalities to see what works for each one and possibly borrow concepts. It will allow for better understanding of the opportunities and challenges in each individual city. For example, the data contained in the dashboard can help cities to devise strategies for attracting and retaining talent in addition to spurring economic growth. The slew of data available through the online platform will allow municipal leaders to devise comprehensive plans for implementing smart technologies and policies where they are most needed, rather than guessing or making random additions.
Australia's federal government emphasizes that this system is not a report card or intended to call out one city as being better than another. Rather, it points out cities' differences and facilitates solutions for serving the public.