WA State Election Overview 2017

compiled by MATT ROGERS and STEWART DORAN

Its that time again. The Western Australian State Election will be taking place this Saturday. Voters will have their choice over significant infrastructure projects which will shape W.A. for decades to come, despite record high debt and deficit on the back of falling GST and mining revenue, persistent voter apathy, and the spectre of Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party in the Upper House. It goes without saying that the result of this election will be interesting. With just under 48 hours to go until polling booths open, and your chance to get your hands on a #democracysausage, we are proud to launch the Perth Urbanist election overview.

Our goal is to provide an overview of the city shaping commitments which have been promised by the major parties should they be in power for the next term of government and a small snapshot of each party's policy stances. Perth Urbanist supports honest, constructive and aspirational discourse around the future of Perth and our State. To learn more about Perth Urbanist, who we are and what we stand for please click here. Please note, we have contacted the WA Liberal Party and are still awaiting responses.

Transport

Transport has shaped up to be one of the most contentious policy areas of this election. Perth Urbanist advocates for increased investment in public transport and alternative transport options.

The Liberal Party has the Perth Transport Plan @ 3.5 million, which includes the development of Roe 8 and future Freight Link. Labor is looking to deliver METRONET and divert funding from Roe 8 towards alternative infrastructure projects. Lastly, the Greens are proposing their Transit City plan, a multi-modal, interconnected network of high frequency public transport.

The questions we asked

  1. What are your key transport infrastructure projects that you propose to deliver in the next term of government?
  2. Will you commit to building light rail, BRT or neither through the Perth CBD in the next term of government?
  3. What value capture initiatives would you support if elected?

What do the parties have to say?

WA Labor
  1. A McGowan Labor Government will build METRONET to connect our suburbs and fix congestion. WA Labor's first priorities will be:

    • Complete the Forrestfield-Airport Line
    • Build the Morley-Ellenbrook Line
    • Build the Yanchep Line
    • Build the Byford Line
    • Commence the Circle Line linking our suburbs
    • Building railcars in WA, for WA
    • Start fixing level crossings on existing lines
    • Integrating bike paths and cycling facilities with the rail network
    • A new METRONET train station at Karnup
    • Build a new Midland station near the new hospital and extend the line to Bellevue

    METRONET will be enshrined in legislation ensuring it is built. For more details click here

  2. WA Labor intends to begin planning a detailed route and financial model for a light rail network should we be successful on March 11.

  3. Value capture is a part of WA Labor’s plan for METRONET. Value capture and developer contributions around the planned transport hubs created by METRONET, will help to fund of Stage 1 of METRONET. For more detail click here.

The Greens (WA)

The Greens (WA) plans for transport infrastructure are outlined in our Transit City and Bike Vision plans.

Transit City is the Greens’ vision for the future of Perth in which the whole community is provided with a multi-modal, interconnected network of high frequency public transport. The plan includes:

  • 71km of new rail that links existing rail lines to create a better network effect
  • 65km of light rail built over 10 to 15 years to revitalise neighbourhoods, encourage urban infill and provide better transport service
  • 283km of Bus Priority Transit to link strategic centres
  • An 811km network of high frequency buses with priority lands and signalling, and dramatically increasing the frequency of all services to make public transport more convenient
  • Filling the gaps in the network to provide a better service no matter where you live

The Bike Vision plan harnesses the potential Perth has to become one of the best cities in the world and this country for bikes, and provides a comprehensive and costed suite of policies and programs needed to realise it.

Five key components:

  • At least 300 km of Principle Shared Paths that will complete our “bike freeways” network
  • At least 2 000km of local bike routes
  • An entirely new 2 000km network of protected Crosstown Bike Paths
  • An entirely new network of 1 800km of safe routes to schools, train stations, and major employment hubs
  • An entirely new 120km Greenways network that provides safe, continuous, separate bikeways running through bushland, parklands and wetlands across the metro area.
Awaiting responses from WA Liberals

Housing

Perth’s population is booming. We’re expecting to reach 3.5 million people by the year 2030. That means one thing – more housing is needed. Accommodating this growth in a strategic manner is vital to a liveable and prosperous city.

Urban consolidation, housing affordability, density and infill, multi-age precincts, innovative building technologies, and homelessness are some of the key policy areas the next West Australian government will face.

Perth Urbanist advocates for reduced urban sprawl, through the strategic and sympathetic densification and infill of our inner city areas, activity centres and transit corridors. As well as increased housing diversity, affordability and embracing innovative building techniques.

The questions we asked

  1. How will you approach changing the perception of density and infill in WA?
  2. What is your policy to tackle homelessness in WA?
  3. What is your plan to deliver affordable inner-city housing?

What do the parties have to say?

WA Labor
  1. WA Labor will promote density with amenity and the value of density around transport hubs.

    This will involve, through the METRONET program, a co-ordinated transport spending and land use program.

  2. WA Labor’s approach is multi-faceted. Provision of housing options is one aspect, and then addressing some of the personal issue facing some homeless people is another, whether they be employment, abuse, drug and alcohol or mental health issues. At the same time, WA Labor will ensure the State's Housing Authority gets back to basics.

    WA Labor will ensure resources of the Housing Authority are genuinely directed to affordable housing options, especially for disadvantaged and disenfranchised groups. WA Labor will ensure public housing is available for those in need.

    It is dismaying that under the current Liberal National Government there are more than 18,000 people on the public housing wait list, a decline in the public housing stock and a range of housing maintenance issues.

    WA Labor also has a range of policies related to support for people with mental health issues, drug and alcohol problems and diversifying our economy to assist with employment options.

  3. WA Labor will ensure transport and planning go hand in hand when developing and implementing our METRONET policy. We will also work with the planning and property industry to provide the mechanisms that can deliver density with amenity, such as community titles.

The Greens (WA)

Solving Perth’s current growth and development challenges and closing the inequality gap starts with providing connected, liveable, sustainable communities, through world class infrastructure and design that improves our environment, cost of living, and our health.

The Greens strongly support community-led engagement in planning and decision making, and harnessing our opportunities to grow sustainably.  

The Property Council , the Greens along with CODA Architecture + Urban Design along with Curtin University have joined together to showcase how our metropolitan area can be activated through design led solution to create vibrant, connected and well designed precincts. The resulting report #DesignPerth portrays our different vision for the way Perth can grow and develop into a connected, liveable and sustainable city.

Hidden cost of providing infrastructure in greenfield sites represents an area of great potential savings if the government placed greater emphasis on infill.

  • Increasing Perth infill target from 47% to 60% would save $23 billion to 2050
  • This would pay for the entire Perth Light Rail network as originally proposed 12 times over

The Greens despair about the number of people falling through the cracks in our society. Every day hundreds of requests for basic shelter and vital support are left unmet – and service providers are overstretched and underfunded. We are committed to fixing this gap.

The Greens have announced a Homelessness Action Plan which we will work to introduce in the next term of government. Our Plan would:

  • Ensure every community has access to quick response outreach teams for rough sleepers and the most vulnerable people experiencing homelessness;
  • Double funding for specialist homelessness services;
  • Build 10,000 homes for the homeless in four years; and
  • Conduct an emergency audit and ‘yield study’ on government-owned land to build affordable housing, instead of selling it off to developers
Awaiting responses from WA Liberals

Planning Reform

Removing red-tape, bureaucracy and regulations that only delay development timeframes and increase costs is something that most people would agree with and is often repeated throughout an election cycle. What is less-often cited are specific examples of red-tape, bureaucracy, and regulations that can be removed. That is why we have challenged the parties to identify key issues they see with the current planning system in W.A. and what future reforms they have proposed.

Perth Urbanist advocates for a democratic planning system which offers increased certainty, consistent with the rule of law and the Australian 'fair go'. We support a system that allows for progressive evidence-based policy and transparent decision-making to encourage investment, culture, and activity in our cities.

The questions we asked

  1. What are the key issues with the current planning system in WA and what future reforms do you propose?
  2. Would you consider scrapping the Development Application Panel system?
  3. Will local government reform be on your agenda for the next term?

What do the parties have to say?

WA Labor
  1. Planning needs to be integrated with transport, there should be greater consistency across local governments and the approvals process needs to be streamlined without shutting out genuine community consultation.

    WA Labor will get the strata reform process back on track by introducing the generally agreed reforms, such as community titles, and conducting further consultation on the more contentious aspects.

  2. There are some concerns with the current operation of DAPs and WA Labor will review their current processes with a view to reform rather than completely scrapping them.

  3. WA Labor is opposed to forced amalgamations of local governments and deplores the many millions of dollars the Liberal Government wasted on their flawed, heavyhanded “reform” process, which failed to achieve any significant reform.

The Greens (WA)

The Greens believe that some of the key challenges faces the planning system in WA include:

  • Centralising of planning power
  • The weakening of elected member responsibilities of representation,
  • Offending community values
  • Undermining of grass-roots community driven processes
  • Lack of access to third party appeals

We are calling for the democratising of the DAPs we believe that significant reforms are needed for the DAPS to achieve their objectives of greater transparency, consistency and efficiency in decision making.

Changes need to be made to the DAP panel composition to give back majority control to elected members and to strengthen the voice of local residents in our political process.

Local governments are not all the same however and in some instances the use of DAPs has assisted some councils toward meeting their infill targets, and reduced the previously ad hoc approach between councils to the use of expert advice to inform planning decisions

Awaiting responses from WA Liberals

21st Smart Cities

Ensuring Perth develops as a 21st Century 'smart city' which encourages innovation and embraces new technologies, particularly in relation to the use of big data and preparing for the cyber-physical revolution, is vital to our future economy. The rate of technological change has become a disruptive force within the State's economy and a more broadly in society. Ensuring that we are adequately prepared for the challenges and opportunity of an increasingly digital, connected, and disputed world will require a parliament that is proactive about addressing issues of automation, the share-economy and the dangers and potential of big data.

Perth Urbanist believes that central to this transition is government transparency and the brake down of government data silos. Building on the Western Australian Whole of Government Open Data Policy to collect and improve government datasets, releasing them to the public to ensure evidence based decision making is undertaken in a collaborative and interdisciplinary manner.

The questions we asked

  1. Building on the Western Australian Whole of Government Open Data Policy, what will you do to increase the number and quality of government datasets available from both state and local government sources?
  2. Smart infrastructure is required to transform our cities to meet the challenges and opportunities of the cyber-physical revolution. Will you invest in upgrading our current infrastructure to meet the requirements of autonomous vehicles, electric cars and the sharing economy?

What do the parties have to say?

WA Labor
  1. WA Labor would review the Western Australian Whole of Government Open Data Policy should we be successful on March 11.

  2. WA Labor’s infrastructure plans will incorporate innovation and the sharing economy. For example, car-sharing is becoming increasingly popular in some part of Australia and future design of infrastructure should incorporate this. To learn more click here.

The Greens (WA)

The Greens believe government should make as much data available as possible, unless it poses a risk to privacy or security. The Greens would like to see an initiative similar to the federal Digital Transformation Office that enables standardisation across departments, and consistency in data and information policies.


At the federal level the Greens want to see a publicly owned, best-technology National Broadband Network. This is the foundation any state-level initiatives must build upon. Infrastructure, whether it be communications, transportation or other amenities, must not be a bottleneck stifling innovation. But these new technologies must be human-centric, so workplace wage and safety protections must not be compromised at the behest of new industries. 

Awaiting responses from WA Liberals

Environment, health & built form

A common theme in this election cycle has been health and the environment. While big ticket items like the clearing of land at the Beeliar Wetlands to make way for Roe 8 has occupied significant media and public attention. There is the ever present and increasing threat that climate change presents to our region of the world. Also of importance, planning considerations around the management and protection of our environment, given the need to accommodate future growth to predicted population of 3.5 million by 2030.

Additionally, around the world and here at home we are seeing the rise of non-communicable diseases which the United Nations has labelled as a pandemic. Commentators have argued that if current trends continue the generation being born today will be the first since the industrialisation of the western world to have a lower life expectancy than their parents. Obesity, mental health and cardiovascular disease like climate change are complex issues with numerous root causes which require collective efforts to solve.

Perth Urbanist advocates for the sympathetic densification and infill of our inner city areas while ensuring that we do better to retain our natural environment and built heritage to promote urban renewal, Western Australian identity, bio-diversity, and sense of place. We intend to start a conversation about the role of planning in addressing these larger societal issues. How can our State Planning Policies create a healthier and environmentally sustainable Western Australia?

The questions we asked

  1. What do you propose to do in the next term of government to address the issues of urban heat island affect and tree canopy loss in our urban centres?
  2. Given the rise in chronic illness, mental health issues and obesity. Will you action a specific state planning policy centered around the relationship between public health and urban design?

What do the parties have to say?

WA Labor
  1. WA Labor will place a greater focus on active commuting, with greater investment for cycling and also better pedestrian and cycling access to public transport.

  2. WA Labor will place a greater focus on precinct planning, facilitating well-designed public open space and better levels of vegetation for other public areas.

    WA Labor has also announce our Active Open Spaces policy that will encourage a more healthy urban design. To learn more click here

The Greens (WA)

The Greens have a vision for Perth to become a city within a protected network of urban bushlands, wetlands and park that everyone can access and enjoy. Greening our city will keep it cooler, provide health and economic benefits, create a more liveable city, and honour our place as one the world’s biodiversity hotspots and home to oldest continuous culture on this planet.

Our plan Perth Urban Forest lays out a clear strategy and proposes dedicated funding to transform our city and provide the missing link in our infrastructure and planning systems. Our goal is that every Perth resident with live within a 5 minute walk of a Greenway and a 10 minute ride to protected parkland of regional significance.

The five key strategies in the plan are:

  • Building knowledge and capacity – Establish a world class Urban Forest Taskforce that helps to plan, measure and maintain Perth’ Urban Forest
  • Protect what remains – Protect 90% remaining urban bushland, significant trees and cultural sites
  • Rebuild the links – Rebuild 200 ha/yr of green corridors and ecological linkages between existing natural habitats and parks to a total of 2600 hectares of new corridors by 2029
  • Green our streets and public places – Double Perth’s tree canopy by 2040
  • Community and Culture will be at the heart of the Perth Urban Forest Plan - Provide multiple opportunities for the community and citizens to meaningfully engage with the development of Perth’s Urban Forest, particularly at the household and street scale.
Awaiting responses from WA Liberals

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