West Australian Premier, Mark McGowan, spoke out in support of well-designed density at a Property Council breakfast last week as his government zeroes in on Perth’s urban congestion woes.
More than 250 people turned up to hear the Premier speak last week, as the WA Government continues to prioritise high frequency public transport.
“We are committed to creating a Perth that works better,” McGowan said, adding that “high quality” transport links would build density and deliver the “variety of homes that we will need” over coming decades.
The premier’s comments come after Infrastructure Australia’s audit, released in August, estimates the cost of congestion in Perth will more than double to $3.6 billion over the next 12 years.
“In 2031, Perth's worst-performing roads will be broadly the same as today, but suffering greater congestion and delays,” Infrastructure Australia says. The cost of crowding on public transport is expected to rise almost 10-fold, from $17 million to $159 million.
With around 72 kilometres of new passenger rail in the pipeline, the McGowan Government’s METRONET agency promises to drive land use changes for the 5,000 hectares of land within walking distance of 18 new stations.
The Premier highlighted role planning and design plays in securing public support. “I am not afraid of high density or more people in the inner suburbs living closer to work,” McGowan said.
"We want the density created to be done right,” he said, adding that Design WA apartment and precinct guidelines would leave a positive legacy for future generations.
“Ultimately it’s about learning from mistakes of the past and creating a better quality of life [and] quality of density that will win the support of the public.”
Sandra Brewer, Property Council WA executive director said the property industry was pleased the state government was “stepping up and spelling out the benefits of density” while acknowledging the job creation and training opportunities delivered by the property industry.
“Our own research found that West Australians want secure homes and safe streets, to feel connected to their community, have access to cultural pursuits and more affordable housing choices close to transport, green spaces and beaches,” Brewer said.
While a commitment to changes to WA’s Foreign Buyers Surcharge weren’t forthcoming, the premier did allude to ongoing discussions with his Treasurer about possible stamp duty relief.
This may be announced as part of the mid-year budget review process, Brewer said. The Property Council will continue to make submissions to the government on this issue.