19/03/2008 - 22:00

34 Big Ideas

19/03/2008 - 22:00


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34 Big Ideas


At WA Business News, we are very conscious of safety issues, but there has to be a point where enough is enough.

Too much time is wasted by drivers and pedestrians at the intersections of Perth's CBD waiting for the lights to change.

And when that little green man comes on, sometimes it seems like an eternity before the cars can move again.

Let's get like the rest of the world and have flasing amber at more intersections to signal drivers that they can go if the road is clear.

It will speed things up for everyone involved.


 The PCEC isn’t the most loved building in Perth, so let’s give it a virtual makeover – illuminate it with colour or make it a screen for giant projections.


 There are already plans for a swan-shaped island for the new Perth waterfront project; we want more.

We’ve previously flagged ideas for a giant swan statue in the middle of the river.


 These days, packaged alcohol seems to predominantly come in glass.

That means a lot of it ends up smashed in playgrounds and on footpaths, among other inconvenient and dangerous places.

While this says a lot about the people who consumed it, perhaps we could do more to encourage its thoughtful disposal – like offering a return fee like they did in the old days to encourage entrepreneurial youth to collect it.

Or maybe cans should be cheaper, especially if they use West Aussie alumina.


This may not be the most commercially sensible idea going around, but everyone in WA wants to see a second locally based mass circulation daily started up to compete with The West Australian.

Given that this has been tried before, ending in failure, it may take a benevolent owner prepared to lose a few million, maybe hundreds.

There'd be more than a few people in the state these days with that kind of wealth to burn.


 It's not just ageing journalists who remember the Palace Hotel on the corner of William Street and St Georges Terrace.

Many corporate types enjoyed a drink or two at that establishment...

until Alan Bond built the BankWest Tower (pictured) and the wonderful 112-year-old hotel, built by gold speculator John DeBaun, was turned into a financial services outlet.

Boring...give us back a pub, please.


 The debate over management of this iconic WA industry continues to rage.

It’s time for change, guys.

Think quota.


 That’s easier said than done.

But apart from state taxes being cut, they also need to be indexed to the prices they relate to...eg wages, house prices etc.


 Constructed in 1909, the Jacobs Ladder link between the foreshore precinct and Kings Park has always been popular.

Thankfully, noone uses it as a rapid descent thrillway in sheets of iron as they supposedly did 99 years ago, but the current 100-metre stairway is very popular for the fitness heads in Perth.

So popular, in fact, that it’s often bumper-to-bumper just after dawn and well after sunset.

With the ladder set to turn 100 next year, can’t we celebrate its centenary by doubling it up, to allow one-way traffic flows and ease congestion? And while we’re at it, a bit of beautification of the surrounds wouldn’t go astray.

The fit people of Perth would rejoice.


School students could visit all the state’s major regions during their high school years, to grasp the importance of the regions to this great state.

Just like students can have a subsidy to go to Canberra, there should be one for this.

The impact on the regions, regional travel and our young people would be immensely positive.


 We need more people.

Perth needs regional status so that it can compete to attract the workers we vitally need.


 Why don’t we extend the Cat bus system to link the inner-city with the CBD, and some other key areas.

Up Beaufort Street, up the William Street strip all the way out to Mt Lawley, Mt Hawthorn and up to the retail strip of Osborne Park, linking the with the existing rail network.

The same could be done for South Perth, Crawley and Subiaco.

We all love the romantic idea of trams or light rail, but Cat buses are a much less capital intensive option.


 As the city grows, we need more parking outside the CBD so people can take advantage of all these new ways into the city.

Let’s make sure that railway stations and bus links have adequate places for people to park their cars.


 We can object to liquor licences, let’s make it easier to support them.


 It’s been on the agenda for 1,000 years and it’s partly planned in the deferred Northbridge Link project.

We know that the state can’t do everything at once, but don’t let this slip off the priority list for another millennium.


 Let’s not lose sight of the new cultural precinct planned by the river.

And, with the museum moving to East Perth, we shouldn't forget the existing cultural area in Northbridge.

New restaurants, bars and cafes in the plaza could bring life to this area, extending Northbridge and drawing people closer to the remaining institutions.


 The city earned this tag in the 1960s when the people of Per th turned on their lights as astronaut John Glenn passed overhead.

So let’s get some light back on the subject.

Remember the wonderful shipping imagery that used to light up the Old Swan Brewery at night? Lets get something striking like that back on the slopes of Kings Park.

Illumination is a great way to make the city look more attractive, and keep it safe.

Perhaps the boffins can make sure its all powered by solar energy or happily activated glow worms.


 Perth’s river has a great cycleway system, but outside that the routes get a little hairy for bike-loving commuters.

More dedicated lane space and traffic management is needed, rather than having cycle paths as afterthoughts that seem to peter out when any obstacle – like an intersection – gets in the way.


Tax junk food.

Fast food is not saving anyone any time.

It's eating away at our lives and sending a generation to an early grave.

If you want to eat it, you ought to pre-pay the hospital bills.


 One service seems inadequate.

The Swan might not be Sydney Harbour, but let’s have it used a bit more by commuters.


 The state has made attempts to fix the taxi shortage, but the industry structure needs a fundamental rethink.

Just solve this problem.


 The weather in Western Australia is varied to an extreme degree, but there’s not much that a verandah can’t improve.

In the heat or the pouring rain, a bit of coverage makes a whole lot of sense.

We ought to be encouraging not just houses to have this passive improvement, but also shops and businesses, for the benefit of all who visit and pass by.

And the state ought to lead by example.

In the US, the seats of legislative power normally have a dome, so we reckon WA should start an Aussie trend and stick a corrugated iron bullnose on the front of our parliament – right where we lost those nice shady trees.


 Commuters seem to be able to manage this in other countries.

Why not here?


 Let’s become a centre of excellence for something silly, like chalk drawing on the pavement.

It's something fun we could all get behind.

Besides, it doesn’t rain here much, so the art will last.


Freo is fast reaching its limit for container traffic.

We need the new port at Kwinana fast-tracked and maybe the North Quay could become a developer’s dream.


We all know what the problems are...just fix them.

And while we are at it, let’s get a train link so we can skip the queues for the, ahem, taxis.


Why do we do need to replicate the rest of the world? Let’s be different.

Why not Resources World, where the punters can go deep into the heart of a mine, experience a seismic test, blast some fake rocks sky high and thrill in the discovery of diamonds being created in prehistory.

What about a Mini-Mine, where diminutive diggers and trucks haul ore operated remotely by the workers of tomorrow.

Kids would love it and business could use it as a training facility.


Let’s get on with the Joondalup Health Study, and replicate it around the state.

Knowing everything about our population’s health is doable, will attract scientists from the world over and make us all healthier in the long run.

Imagine...we could all live long enough to see the end of this boom!


Street art is good all year round, not just during the festival.

Sculpture by the Sea shows us what it’s really like; let’s have more of this everywhere.


 How many elected officials does a state really need? Let’s slim down local government into much bigger por tions and give them the opportunity to operate – with the right controls – like redevelopment authorities.

In the country, let’s give the regional capitals more clout over their area, so they grow strong and attract their own investment.


 Laws protecting a certain business over others are silly, wasteful and inefficient.

If people don’t want to shop on Sundays, let them vote with their feet.


Could someone tell the councils standing in the way of liquor deregulation that we now live in the 21st century? By all means manage the growth of licensed premises – by shutting down those who do it badly – but give them a chance to do things differently.


Public-private partnerships could go further than they have so far.

Let’s be creative about how we use private dollars and non-government operators to run much needed public infrastructure – like schools, hospitals and transport.


Let’s see more parks, and make sure they are managed properly.

Not only in the CBD, but everywhere, so every city in WA has its own Kings Park of the future.

Having retail and residential around and inside such areas keeps them alive and drives away the bad elements.

Oh, and don’t forget the open space planned at the Law Chambers site in the CBD.


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