Shared land agenda key to Perth City progress

When 350 people from all walks of life got together recently to discuss ideas to improve the Perth city centre it was land and its various uses and controls that was common in the top ideas.  The gathering soon discovered, however, that there was a lot less commonality amongst the groups that have direct control of land in the city centre. 

Achieving a shared agenda amongst these City stakeholder is indeed the greatest challenge to achieve the progress desired by the community.

The excellent Perth City Summit, convened by Perth MLA, John Carey debated 35 ideas, nominated by the community in a public survey to improve the Perth city centre.  The summit then identified the top five ideas, including:

  • Partnering with the traditional owners of the land to recognise indigenous culture and history;
  • Shading the land with native canopy;
  • More land activation of vacant spaces;
  • Encourage more dwelling construction on land in the city centre; and
  • Giving the city more character by creating precincts that identify unique land uses.

Who are the gatekeepers for these and other ideas to improve the City centre?  Here are a few.  State Cabinet, local governments, land agencies like the MRA, water and river agencies, Main Roads, the Public Transport Authority, and a raft of other departments.

The Property Council’s recent report, Big (and small) Ideas for Perth found there are too many disparate organisations and agencies with interests in the inner city.  There is wasteful duplication of skills and functions across a range of disciplines and issues. 

The cross section of agencies and functions is easier to manage in suburban areas, where the land uses and depth of issues are less complex.  The inner city however is unique due to its employment density, capacity for residential growth, its function as the centre of metropolitan transport systems and role as the capital city with unique services.

Its time for a functioning joint body, with representatives of the state government, local government and the MRA to develop a shared vision for the Perth city centre.