In recent weeks, two major federal government strategy papers have been released: 'Our Cities, Our Future: A National Urban Policy for a Productive, Sustainable and Liveable Future' and 'Sustainable Australia---Sustainable Communities: A Sustainable Population Strategy for Australia'. They have a common focus on sustainability and liveability. They have to be closely aligned to the extent that over 80 per cent of Australia’s future population growth will need to be accommodated in its cities---especially the capital cities. Achieving a sustainable population in Australia will critically depend upon the sustainability of its urban development. The liveability of Australia’s cities is recognised internationally, and acts as a strong magnet for migrants and foreign capital. The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Liveability Index, calculated for over 140 cities worldwide, routinely places Australia’s capitals in the top ten. However, this liveability is being achieved by levels of resource consumption that are also world-leading. In a growing and urbanising 21st century world it is an unsustainable and inequitable nexus.