The Australian government's release of the National Cities Performance Framework interim report is an important milestone on the road to smarter policy around Australian cities, says the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).

The Framework aims to track the performance of Australia's largest cities against key metrics including jobs and skills, infrastructure and investment, liveability and sustainability, innovation and digital opportunities, governance, planning and regulation, and housing.

The GBCA has been a long-time advocate of collecting and reporting on city-level data, and company CEO Romilly Madew says the Australian government's approach demonstrates its commitment to putting the ‘smart' into its Smart Cities Policy, which was released in April 2016.

"One of the most important features of the Framework will be its online dashboard," Madew said.

"For the first time, every Australian will have easy access to data that helps them understand how our cities are performing, and how governments are delivering outcomes meaningful for them. 

"As the Turnbull government continues to roll out City Deals in partnership with state, territory and local governments, the Framework will also provide an essential resource to identify priorities and measure success." 

In June, the GBCA released the Green Star Communities Guide for Local Government, a resource that aims to build the capacity of local governments as they seek City Deals, and identify and prioritise opportunities.

"The Framework must drive sustainability across our cities and help deliver City Deals that leverage existing industry leadership, like that demonstrated through Green Star, to deliver improved outcomes for communities," Madew said. 

"It is reassuring that this interim report positions the Framework for further expansion and refinement. 

"The challenges of measuring city performance in delivering more sustainable communities are becoming more acute, and will require constant review.

"Developing a ‘living resource' that evolves as our cities do will help us gain maximum value from government investment and build thriving cities for decades to come."