The West Australian today published an opinion piece by Anthony Albanese, the federal shadow minister for cities, infrastructure and transport on the future of our cities, but it leaves more questions than it provides answers.
I can’t believe Albanese got sucked in by the sustainability propaganda crap that was reported last year that US academic John Renne refused a job in Perth because he and his family could not afford to live near a transport hub on a $ 170,000-a-year salary. That is just rich boy crying poor stuff.
Urban growth and traffic congestions are a serious concern for the Perth metro area and Albanese is correct that the Federal and State governments should be spending less on roads and more on public transport. Lightrail connecting the north of Perth, and Fremantle, Rockingham, with the universities and hospitals would be a great investment and a much better one than building a truck toll road to get containers to Fremantle port.
Decentralisation is all the go in my humble opinion. Decentralise workplaces so people do not have to commute for hours each day and, as Albanese suggests, decentralise CBDs and create second and third ones in our capital city. No doubt Fremantle should be the second Perth CBD but it gets no support from the Barnett government. To be fair though, previous Labor governments have not exactly been more generous to Freo and invested little in the port city either, but for new infrastructure at Fremantle Ports.
High-density living near busy roads and rail lines create their own problems with noise and air pollution, and mental health and social issues, so one needs to be careful where and how one creates high-density residential apartments.
I am getting pretty cynical about what constitutes so-called affordable housing, when one has to pay nearly $ 200 a week in Fremantle to just get a room in a share house. Is ‘affordable’ for a small apartment $ 400+ a week and how many low-income earners would be able to pay for that?
What Australia needs are real visionaries who are not trying to promote their own agenda. There are as many narrow-minded anti-change people as there are one-eyed sustainability ‘experts’ and we should be careful not to get sucked in by those whose only ‘vision’ is highrise near train stations.
Albanese’s article is disappointing because it lacks substance and vision and it does not state what the Labor party would do for Western Australia should they win the next federal and state elections.