Business experts tell Planning Institute of Australia state conference importance of districts like Joondalup mustn’t be neglected


Ray Haeren (president Planning Institute of Australia WA) and Ross Elliott (executive director Suburban Alliance). Picture: Martin Kennealey d474018

Rebecca Cummings (Rowe Group) and Giles Graham (Site Planning and Design). Picture: Martin Kennealey d474018
Ray Haeren (president Planning Institute of Australia WA) and Ross Elliott (executive director Suburban Alliance). Picture: Martin Kennealey d474018 Rebecca Cummings (Rowe Group) and Giles Graham (Site Planning and Design). Picture: Martin Kennealey d474018

THE success of Perth has previously relied on its centre, but planning experts say business districts like Joondalup must not be neglected.

Suburban Alliance executive director Ross Elliott says by growing suburban business districts and providing alternatives for business activity across multiple suburban centres paves the way for people to find more affordable housing closer to work.

“Putting all the high end jobs into one place (the city centre), means real estate all around it becomes prohibitively expensive and we end up manufacturing problems of worsening housing affordability, speculative and over heated housing markets, excessive congestion and prohibitively costly infrastructure projects needed to cope with it, as well as an increasing divide between the inner city haves and the suburban have nots,” he said.

Mr Elliott, who was a guest speaker at the recent Planning Institute of Australia state conference at Joondalup Resort, said the success of a suburban business district came down to three key factors: the proximity of the university, public open space and the hospital to the business district.

“Joondalup has all three,” he said.

“We are yet to see in Australia any centres of excellence in seniors health, where universities combine with retirement living and aged care providers to train, research and teach new advances in seniors health by co-locating the residents and the university, but I have no doubt that will come.

“Places like Joondalup are logical for this sort of initiative.”

Planning Institute of Australia WA division executive said Emma de Jager said decision makers needed to focus on transforming suburbs into liveable, successful business districts.

“We need to bring jobs into the suburbs and develop them into places that people want to work and live, which in turn reduces the pressure on transportation and housing affordability around the city centre,” she said.

“The challenge for the planning community is to grasp the opportunity and apply the lessons learnt from inner urban renewal to the renewal of suburban business districts.

“The idea that the suburbs should be mainly dormitories and the CBD should be where most people work simply will not work: we cannot afford the infrastructure needed to create such large, monocentric cities.”

Technology was a big driver of the suburban business districts, providing less of a need for physical proximity to clients or allied businesses.

MORE: WA meth and ecstasy capital of Australia: 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey

MORE: WA Police ordered to stop strike action

MORE: Dept of Transport and Water Police boat inspections finds many lifejackets not fit for use