COAG report leaves no doubt of Perth planning crisis
Media Release: Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam, April 2
Despite limited terms of reference the COAG reform council’s findings on capital cities has made the urgent need for action clear, particularly in Perth, the Greens said today.
Greens transport and sustainable cities spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam said the Western Australian Government should immediately re-prioritise its requests for Commonwealth funding, and put housing affordability and public transport at the top of the list.
“The report is a graphic confirmation of Perth buckling under growing road congestion and unregulated growth. We need to get commuters and freight off roads and onto rail yet the Federal Government’s most recent budget spent five dollars on roads for every one dollar on rail.
“Perth’s housing affordability is the lowest of all cities – only 19 per cent of Perth’s housing is considered affordable to people on moderate incomes, compared to the 40 per cent national average. This will only worsen unless urgent action is taken to improve the state governments affordable housing strategy.
“Perth has the highest population growth of cities at 2.3 per cent or about 700 people a week, yet we see only about 1400 new dwellings coming through in the CBD by 2014, and the new Northbridge Link only plans for 1650 new dwellings.
“The Report states WA has no comprehensive treatment of demographic change or social infrastructure in a spatial context. In other words – we’re totally unprepared for our growing and aging population and sleep-walking into a planning disaster.
“WA’s infill target for 2031 is ridiculously low at 47 per cent. What we want to see is a planning strategy that prioritises the integration of land use and transport, as the Report recommends – which is why the Greens will be investigating the infill potential along future transport corridors identified in the draft public transport strategy. The state government should be focussing on that, instead of expanding further and further out to the margins.
“In urban design we also are falling down, with a minimum standard the default setting rather than planners encouraging excellence. Nothing is being coordinated properly at the metropolitan or precinct level, mostly just applied ad hoc on a project by project basis.”
The State Government Architect needs a much bigger and more formal role across all metropolitan development – we would see a huge improvement in design and sustainability through this one action alone.
“The Report makes it clear it is untenable for governments in this country to carry on with business as usual. The Greens want to see federal spending prioritised according to the three urgent areas identified in the Report as most broken: transport, housing and social inclusion. The federal budget should then award funding as priority to states with clear strategies, such as our affordable housing strategy.
“We must see a plan to boost urban productivity. We need to fast-track infrastructure, schools, transport and aged care to deal with shortfalls now, let alone those projected for the near future.
“There are still big holes in this plot. The Report neglected the economic, logistic and environmental challenges of peak oil, the loss of urban bushland and biodiversity, and food security and water issues. There’s a great deal of work to be done and we need to get cracking.”
Media contact: Giovanni Torre – 0417 174 302