A NATIONAL campaign for an infrastructure fund attracted the most support from City of Wanneroo residents recently.
Wanneroo Mayor Tracey Roberts said the City and its residents had been vocal in the Fund Our Future campaign in the lead up to the Federal Election, sending 16,692 emails.
“Our community response was the highest in the nation, with residents sending a very clear message to politicians in Canberra,” she said.
“Rail infrastructure is vital for our growing community and will have a positive impact on work-life balance and employment opportunities in the City.”
Last week, Mrs Roberts met with WA Labor leader Mark McGowan and local politicians and welcomed their support to extend the northern rail line to Yanchep.
“We welcome Mr McGowan’s commitment that, should Labor form government, one of its first priorities will be to invest in the northern rail line,” she said.
“Residents in the northern suburbs are currently facing 90 minute commutes on the Mitchell Freeway, which is totally unacceptable.”
The City advocated for a private-public funding model for the rail extension during the campaign, coordinated by the National Growth Areas Alliance (NGAA).
“We come from all over the country – from Penrith in Western Sydney to Wanneroo in Perth – but the challenges in our areas are the same: congested roads, inadequate public transport and poor access to health facilities,” NGAA chairman Glenn Docherty said.
“Our residents face daily nightmare commutes just to get to their work or study.
“If a significant investment is not made now, we risk dividing cities along social and economic lines: those in the inner city who have good access to transport, jobs and health facilities; and those in the fast-growing outer suburbs who do not.”
Mrs Roberts visited Canberra in June with representatives from other outer growth councils.
Collectively, the campaign gathered 87,000 emails supporting a dedicated national infrastructure fund for outer suburbs.
The Federal Government should make the outer suburbs a key priority in its cities agenda, according to a leading urban researcher.
RMIT University Professor Jago Dodson said the distribution of employment and services was “highly uneven”, particularly in outer suburbs.
There are already five million residents in outer suburbs around the country, including the City of Wanneroo.
“The development of suburban employment clusters and improving transport and spatial accessibility to employment and services are really important objectives to push on,” Prof Dodson said.
He was part of a panel discussion on cities and growth co-hosted by the NGAA at Parliament House.
The Alliance, which includes the cities of Wanneroo, Armadale, Cockburn and Gosnells and the Shire of Serpentine-Jarrahdale, ran the Fund our Future campaign.
NGAA chairman Glenn Docherty said the current “lucky-dip” approach to infrastructure was not working and so a dedicated national infrastructure fund for fast-growing outer suburbs was required.
“Fast-growing outer suburbs are a major contributor to the national economy, but don’t get their fair share of funding for roads, public transport and health facilities,” he said.
Prof Dodson said he was encouraged by cross-party support for addressing the “deficits” in jobs and services in outer suburbs like the City of Wanneroo, but there was often still a focus on the needs of the inner city.
“We can do the shiny, big-picture stuff like Metros and tunnels in the inner city, but resolving the problems in suburbs is critical to an urban policy that can support successful cities,” he said.
Research carried out for the NGAA showed that investment in growth areas would outweigh the costs, create jobs, increase tax revenues and permanently boost GDP.