Smart Cities Plan: Yanchep resident Marcia Berdal looks forward to cutting commuting time

Smart Cities Plan: Yanchep resident Marcia Berdal looks forward to cutting commuting time

YANCHEP resident Marcia Berdal says her daily work commute greatly impacts on her quality of life.

She spends three hours per day travelling to her job in West Perth, through a combination of driving, public transport and walking.

“It’s very restrictive; you don’t get much of a life,” she said.

“There’s no good scenario when you travel that much.”

Ms Berdal is away from home for at least 12 hours per day and said it affected her social life, causing her to see friends and family less often.

“On the weekends I’m always really tired,” she said.

“It’s not a healthy lifestyle.

“I find it very isolating.”

She had considered moving or finding an alternative job but said Yanchep suited her retirement plans and she did not think it would be easy to find another job at her age of 63.

The Federal Government’s proposed Smart Cities Plan would reduce travel time to work, which Ms Berdal said would give her time for exercise, to socialise and contribute to improved mental health.

But she believed the plan was “a bit optimistic.”

“What needs to be done is the railway all the way to Yanchep at least and the freeway,” she said.

“I also think employers should be looking at long distance commuters and see if there is an option for them to work from home.”

She said shorter commute times would benefit everyone, especially families.

“It would mean better family life, a better health level and probably better all round personal contentment,” she said.

City welcomes Federal plan for jobs

THE City of Wanneroo has welcomed a Federal Government plan to deliver jobs closers to homes, more affordable housing, better transport connections and healthy environments.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the Commonwealth Smart Cities Plan at a Melbourne Summit last month.

The plan includes establishment of an infrastructure financing unit to work closely with the private sector on innovative solutions and committing $50 million to accelerate planning and development works on major infrastructure projects to develop business cases and investment options.

Mr Turnbull said the Cities Plan would unlock more housing supply.

“By increasing the supply of housing we can address one of the greatest financial issues of our times for most families – housing affordability,” he said.

The Australian Labor Party has been advocating reform to negative gearing and the capital tax discount to address housing affordability issues.

Wanneroo Mayor Tracey Roberts said the plan was a welcome response to the strong advocacy undertaken by the City and the National Growth Areas Alliance (NGAA) via its Fund Our Future campaign.

While the ‘30-minute city’ aspiration sounded good in theory, Mrs Roberts said local residents who currently endure commutes of up to 90 minutes needed evidence of the government’s commitment.

“The City of Wanneroo is growing at an increasingly rapid pace and this growth is expected to continue for the next 50 years,” she said.

“This presents both opportunities and challenges for the region when it comes to employment creation, infrastructure and meeting the evolving needs of our fast growing community.

“We welcome this plan, and the proposed heavy rail extension to Yanchep, a future metropolitan hub, as it has the potential to bring infrastructure and employment opportunities to our City, particularly in developing areas such as Alkimos and Neerabup.

“It is important that local, state and federal government work together to ensure the best outcome for communities in outer metropolitan areas, to unlock the potential of future industries and create local jobs and economic growth.”

The plan includes the commitment of $50 million to accelerate planning and development works on major infrastructure projects throughout Australia.

“This type of fund would unlock diverse ranges of employment, investment and social infrastructure,” Mrs Roberts said.

“For Wanneroo it is the opportunity for further discovery in the areas of aquaculture, agriculture, renewable energies and other innovative enterprises.”

The Smart Cities Plan is out for public comment until June 24.

Local bodies encourage involvement in campaign

LOCAL governments are encouraging residents and those working in fast-growing outer suburbs to take part in the Fund Our Future campaign through a petition.

The NGAA commissioned research by PricewaterhouseCoopers on the federal government’s ‘city deals’ approach, which identified opportunities to capitalise on the growth in the outer suburbs by establishing a fund to address their lack of infrastructure.

“The Federal Government and Opposition have been talking about ‘30-minute cities’, but at the moment, it’s more like ‘90-minute cities’ in our areas,” NGAA executive officer Ruth Spielman said.

“We have consistently argued for a long-term strategic approach based on merit and good planning – not on election cycles.

“This report shows how such an approach could be applied. It is a practical pathway to many of the outcomes that Government is seeking for our cities.”