I absolutely understand how difficult good governance it at every level for our local, state and federal governments and I don’t believe party-focussed governments bashing and negativity is helpful, productive or a way to find solutions for the problems we face. Governments will never please everyone, so they sometimes need to make unpopular decisions. All good and well, but why is there so little long-term and strategic planning that is actually implemented? Large reports are written, expensive consultants’ fees paid and glossy reports published that end up in the archives. Traffic problems appear to go in the too hard basket as governments only work toward the one or two terms they are in office. What happens after that is the opposition’s problem.
Look at the report in the West Australian today where Infrastructure Australia warns that road congestion in Perth will cost the State 16 billion dollars a year by 2031, and seven out of the ten most clogged roads in Australia will be in Perth. The other three in Sydney.
But the way we are going in WA we can’t even say the State will be able to compensate for that with rail transport, as according to Infrastructure Australia the Joondalup and Mandurah lines will also reach “crush capacity” by 2031.
All that is due to pressure from a very fast growing population, estimated to reach 3.9 million by 2031.
To me it appears to be madness that these issues are not the first priority for our State Government, no matter if they are Liberal, Labor, National, Greens, or whatever, and it also should be a top priority for the Federal Government to support and assist WA in trying to find solutions fast. It is essential for the well-being of our community and for our economy that transport flows, that people can commute to and from work in a reasonable time that does not affect their physical and metal health, and it is essential that goods can reach their destinations within an acceptable time frame.
Decentralisation also needs to be a priority to assist with transport problems and we need to fast get past talkfests about this and implement the changes needed with urgency. The problem with that is that the Capital City Perth dream will want more highrise office towers there that will only make the problems worse.
State Government needs to give incentives to developers to build offices in ‘satellite cities’ and also move government departments and agencies to the suburbs, so that there is less focus on Perth and the problems it creates getting people into and out of the capital city during rush hours. We in Fremantle have been on our knees to ask State Government to send one or a few departments and agencies over here to help boost our economy and CBD residential population, but so far we have had very little success swaying the Barnett government in committing to that.
Urgent action is required as 2031 is only less than 16 years away!