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vision WA 2040 FEATURE
a walkable and lively central Perth fed by light
and heavy rail. If we don’t, traffic in Perth will
drive us crazy – if it hasn’t already – and we will
lose much of the attractions in our lifestyle.
“However, if we do this we can look forward
to being a global, productive city that attracts
young people from around the world.”
It's an opinion that is shared by most of
our interviewees. without doubt, the most
common theme was transport and the
need for a long-term transport plan.
“We need to stop putting hundreds of millions
of dollars every year into roads and put it into
other forms of transport,” says Fremantle Mayor
Brad Pettitt. “As goes one of my favourite quotes:
‘Building bigger roads to deal with congestion is
like loosening your belt to deal with obesity.’
“We’ve got to invest in the kinds of high-
quality transport infrastructure we want to see
people using. People will follow the investment.
We’ve got to bring land-use planning and
transport planning together. It’s a really exciting
opportunity to create great, vibrant livable
neighbourhoods along the transport routes.”
We need to develop a sense of a shared
identity, feel proud to be West Australian,
believe that we can be the best and have enough
confidence in our home-grown, Perth-located
architects so we develop our own design culture
that responds to our own community. We need to
develop a sense of who we are as a unique city.
With the new Perth Arena and festivals like
the Perth International Arts Festival and Fringe
World, the exposure of Perth has increased,
and we are getting international visitation from
performers who go home and talk about our
city. People are analysing WA from afar – our
location, good governance, proximity to other
centres, and lifestyle – and big-business players
are making decisions to invest money here.
The WA economy is expanding and that’s
driving population growth, creating jobs, wealth
and a need to provide our more sophisticated
population with the city it deserves. ABS
forecasts suggest by 2040 Perth’s population
could have more than doubled to around
4.4 million, with WA at around 5.2 million.
By 2028, Perth will overtake Brisbane as
Australia’s third-largest city. But Brisbane is home
to less than half of Queensland’s population;
Perth accommodates four out of five people
living in WA. The significant investments through
Royalties for Regions must continue to encourage
population growth and create sustainable regional
economies, which, aside from making our regions
places where people want to live, visit and invest,
will take the pressure off Perth’s infrastructure.
We also need to broaden our economy
and employment base, which is
currently blue-collar dominant.
“People are living for longer, working for
longer, so there needs to be a broader base
economy and diversified employment options,”
says social researcher Mark McCrindle.
“Opportunities need to be provided for people
to be innovative, an economy where they
can start small businesses. This creates
geographically smaller employment locations
and community-based employment, rather than
mass employment in terms of big mine sites.”
Mark says WA has a younger, more mobile
population than other states, making
a society that is far more pragmatic,
aspirational and flexible in attitude.
“Leaders can therefore step out
with bolder visions and be prepared
to back decisions not based on
tradition but more on innovation.
People want multiple solutions. It’s
not just about economic stability
and public transport, it’s also about
Mark says people start to have
an opinion on population growth
or immigration when they start to
feel an impact on themselves, such
as congestion compared with five
years ago, or queues in hospitals.
“When the basic expectations
of the Australian way of life
are impinged, people say the
population is growing too fast.
But it’s actually the planning
that’s inadequate. It’s not that
these things haven’t been planned,
but they’ve been planned on
inadequate data. A lot of forecasts
have been upgraded over the last
decade and we’ve been caught
short on infrastructure planning.
“However, it’s recognised we’re now in
a sustained trend. We can’t pull the lever on
migration, because industries and employers are
crying out for it. Births are higher and there’s
continued longevity. The right data is available
now and the leaders, developers and planners are
starting to plan with those figures before them.”
An impression of the Mulataga
Boardwalk in Karratha (image
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