Mr Smith discussed the state of WA’s infrastructure, criticising the WA State Government for postponing the MAX Light Rail.
‘I think it’s short sighted, and given the growth of the population, growth of our economic capability, it makes sense that we are going to have to do things that are less car dependent,’ he said.
Mr Smith spoke of the legacy of engineer C Y O’Connor and the importance of pursuing large infrastructure projects, citing WA’s desalination plants and his government’s National Broadband Network.
He said Perth had dropped from fourth to ninth in the list of Australia’s most liveable cities, blaming traffic congestion as a major contributor to the decline.
‘The solution to Perth’s traffic congestion cannot simply be to build more and bigger roads, which can act simply as a magnet for more cars,’ he said.
The former MHR pointed out the opposition that large projects usually attracted, but encouraged Australia and WA to not shy away from the opportunity to embark on nation building projects.
Mr Smith said although he was disappointed the State Government had delayed the light rail project, it was inevitable it would be built in the near future.
‘While it is regrettable they’ve put it on the backburner, it will become part of our future as sure as night follows day.
‘We’ve got the electrified railway system which provides a terrific public transport spine, we’ve got to then do things that hub and spoke into that and light rail is a very sensible thing to do,’ Mr Smith said.