23/11/2004 - 21:00

Coordinated city planning pledge

23/11/2004 - 21:00

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Opposition leader Colin Barnett says a Liberal State government will look to establish a State-City of Perth planning authority to deal with planning in the city.

Opposition leader Colin Barnett says a Liberal State government will look to establish a State-City of Perth planning authority to deal with planning in the city.

Mr Barnett said Perth was the culture and heart of Western Australia and that something needed to be done to attract people back to the city, which he claims has fallen behind other capital cities.

“There needs to be big picture planning and big picture decision making,” he said. “The city is off the pace and has fallen behind other major cities in Australia.

“A well planned city with planning ahead of development will ensure a quality of lifestyle.

“It will take money and thinking outside of the square to become a truly great capital city.”

Lord Mayor Peter Nattrass could not be reached for a comment due to overseas travel, but a spokesman from the City of Perth said “grand visions” could not become reality without money behind them.

“These sort of things take a lot of money and it comes down to where that money will come from,” the spokesman said.

Addressing a Property Council lunch last week, Mr Barnett also said a Coalition Government would look to establish a permanent redevelopment authority, which would help local governments with larger projects as needed.

“Redevelopment authorities have been very good – bringing in those bodies for a limited time to revitalise and renew sites is a big stimulus for development,” Mr Barnett said.

“There are some unique issues which are outside the scope of local government, and we need the capacity for the State government to take over the issues for a short period of time.”

He cited the Claremont Shopping Centre redevelopment as an example, saying it was a good project, but beyond the scope of the local government.

“We propose the creation of a permanent redevelopment authority for Perth – an agency which moves from area to area and help local government as needed,” Mr Barnett said.

Participants in last month’s WA Business News forum on coastal development also raised the need for such an authority.

Cottesloe Mayor Rob Rowell said having State government assist local government was a fantastic idea, and anything that helped local governments was a move in the right direction.

“Local government doesn’t have the resources for some of the larger projects,” he told last month’s forum.

“I wouldn’t want it to supplant the role of local government though – they need to still have a say in how things progress.”

Mr Barnett said he had garnered a high level of dissatisfaction with the planning processes, and would have a minister solely dedicated to planning.

In terms of tax policy, Mr Barnett said that too often tax was left as a residual policy when it should be an overt, up-front agenda.

“Tax policy is one of the things I am happy to be judged on – it is a prime policy objective, not an afterthought,” Mr Barnett said.

And in a direct pitch to his lunchtime audience, Mr Barnett said the property industry had, more than any other, paid more than its fair share of taxes.

“Our prime financial policy is to lower, and continually lower tax across the board,” he said.

“I intend to use the natural growth of the economy to walk down rates of tax, year in and year out, and share the benefits of the GST.”

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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