THE lack of action on improving Denny Avenue was a hot button issue at the Battle for Burt debate between Matt Keogh and Matt O’Sullivan in Armadale last week.
Labor candidate Mr Keogh took a swipe at the Liberal State Government for dropping the ball on the Denny Avenue intersection upgrade and said it was not until last year’s Canning by-election that it briefly became a political issue again.
“The planning had been done in the early 2000s but we had a change of State Government and they dropped the project, completely,” he said.
“During the by-election the Liberals said they were going to fix Denny Avenue and in the State and Federal budgets there was absolutely zero dollars committed to that project.”
Labor has committed $25 million to help install an underpass at the dangerous intersection.
Liberal candidate Mr O’Sullivan said a new plan for the Kelmscott CBD was needed to address congestion and how to bring investment to the area.
“We need to address the issue rather than throwing money at a problem and we are methodical about it,” he said.
“We can’t just put it on the taxpayer credit card.”
He said there had been a lot of blame shifting between government agencies and local people were sick of it and just wanted the intersection fixed.
“I will get the agencies together to work this out and then we’ll have a costed plan that we can put to the Finance Minister and for the State Government to take the lead on this,” he said.
Business Armadale president Paul Harrison said an interim option could be to re-open Lake Road to help take pressure off the area.
Meanwhile, Mr Keogh wants Armadale to become the Swan Valley of the south and Mr O’Sullivan wants to tackle the region’s chronic 17.9 per cent unemployment problem.
“One of our biggest industries is hospitality and tourism and I think there is a real growth opportunity to…promote investment in the area and create job opportunities,” Mr Keogh said.
Mr O’Sullivan said his experience with GenerationOne would help tackle the region’s unemployment issues, particularly getting long-term unemployed people back to work.
“People are finding it really hard to get a job so what we need to do is to help lift their aspirations by connecting with training courses that actually lead to real jobs,” he said.
“We need to turn the training system on its head and rather than letting the welfare system drive the training, we allow employers to dictate what training needs to look like.”
The candidates debated other issues including the National Broadband Network and which delivery system was better and transport issues, Freight Link versus MetroNet.
About 30 people from the business community attended the debate, organised by Business Armadale.