PERTH’s political and business leaders have been urged to plan long-term for infrastructure by the head of Regional Development Australia (RDA) Perth.
RDA Perth chairman Keith Ellis made the call as a major plan containing the views of key stakeholders on Perth and Peel’s infrastructure needs for the next 34 years was launched last Thursday.
Mr Ellis said there was a risk short-term thinking would endanger the region’s prospects of developing a balanced approach to development.
Entitled ‘Driving Change’, the Perth and Peel Economic Development Strategy and Infrastructure Plan is focused primarily on job creation for the region’s growing population up until 2050.
“The Development Plan is a document designed to drive long term consideration of the key infrastructure priorities for Perth and Peel over the next 30 years but doing so with a single-minded focus on expanded employment opportunities,” Mr Ellis said.
“The report represents the outcomes of an extensive consultative process with stakeholders with a special emphasis on local government authorities; it is not intended to be an endorsement of any particular project or a strict timeline; rather to represent a long-term view of future requirements to drive future consideration and decision making by all levels of government.”
The RDA Perth committee wants the long-term nature of the report’s focus to be understood in order to avoid a debate framed – and restricted – by the region’s immediate political and commercial imperatives.
“It is especially important that the report is used responsibly to drive a balanced discussion of what is needed for Perth and Peel – rather than as a weapon by individuals or groups wishing to prosecute a political viewpoint or agenda,” Mr Ellis said.
“The current decline in the resources sector has impacted employment significantly and there is evidence that this decline will continue as projects move from construction to operation phase.
“While the resources sector will remain a significant driver of employment, we need to work harder at creating jobs across parts of the region where the population is expected to increase – especially the outer metropolitan areas.”