Business, community, academic and council representatives in Western Australia have thrown their support behind the campaign for a dedicated national infrastructure fund for outer growth areas.
An independent analysis shows that almost one million residents in the West are disadvantaged, lacking access to adequate roads, public transport and health facilities. By 2031, these areas will be home to 1.5 million people.
“Too often our residents are forced to travel for hours to get to and from work – burdening them with high fuel costs, stress from sitting in traffic and time away from friends and family,” says the Mayor of Wanneroo, Tracey Roberts, who is also the WA spokesperson for Fund our Future.
In WA, around $16 billion would be needed to fill the infrastructure backlog and keep pace with the expected growth over the next 15 years, out of a total of $73 billion required nationally.
Guest speaker at the launch, Dr Kirsten Martinus from the University of Western Australia, says there is the opportunity for more high value jobs in outer suburbs, but better planning is required to ensure that happens.
“We can not continue with ‘business as usual’,” says Dr Martinus, who says Perth has failed to plan for growth adequately over the past 60 years. “The inequality in Perth’s suburbs actually grew during the mining boom, with wealth concentrated in the inner core of the city.”
Mayor Roberts agrees the inequity must be addressed: “If a significant investment is not made, we risk dividing cities along social and economic lines: those in the inner city who have good access to transport, jobs and health facilities – and those in the fast-growing outer suburbs who do not.”
There was extensive media coverage of the event, including a story in the West Australian, which has 583,000 daily readers, stories in both Seven and Nine evening news bulletins, coverage on 6PR breakfast news and a live interview on the breakfast program, as well as two interviews on 720 ABC Perth – both during the morning and drive programs.
This takes the overall media tally about Fund our Future to around 70 articles nationally. There have been three national, 20 state-wide and around 50 stories locally.