Developers’ role to find jobs solutions

24/09/2009 - 00:00


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LAND development has changed substantially in the past decade or so.

Developers’ role to find jobs solutions

LAND development has changed substantially in the past decade or so.

No longer is it about carve and sell, the raw version of property sales that involves releasing vacant land for the punters to purchase.

These days the market and government demand amenities, controls on the way dwellings and good transport links.

Some take that further and suggest government has shifted the responsibility onto developers to solve issues such as law and order, to meet community health needs, provide sporting facilities and, increasingly, create long-term jobs.

The employment issue is certainly one that is a strong element of the sustainable approach sought for the northern corridor development.

Wanneroo mayor Jon Kelly is at the forefront of that debate as his city plays to host to one of the most dramatic growth phases in Australia's history. Hundreds of thousands of extra people will be living in his city by the middle of this century.

Mr Kelly is concerned that, without enough local jobs associated with the new northern developments, there will be too much pressure on the transport infrastructure back to central Perth, as well as a lack of vitality and potential social issues in what effectively would be dormitory suburbs.

East of the current coastal region of residential development is the Neerabup industrial estate, which is expected to play an important role in keeping employment close to where people want to live.

Mr Kelly said Neerabup would create 20,000-30,000 jobs directly and 20,000 jobs indirectly if at full potential. However, that would still be 20,000-30,000 jobs short for what would be considered sustainable growth for the region.

That shortfall is why he is pitching for a major infrastructure development in area, with his ambit claim being the state's second casino licence.

Mr Kelly believes such a development as part of a tourist precinct would be a big job spinner, pointing to Burswood casino and resort complex, which employs 4,000 people.

"What I like about a tourism option is it doesn't have to be state money to build it," Mr Kelly said.

Locations for tourism developments abound on the northern coastline, although the track record of previous attempts has been poor (see page 14).

However, there are marinas proposed for Alkimos and Eglinton, as well as a coastal node in between those two sites. In addition are the existing Club Capricorn site at north Yanchep, existing harbour at Two Rocks and the Sun City Country Club golf course.

Wanneroo has looked at many other options to increase the economic opportunities in its region, including the development of motorsport-linked industry and even a new civil airport, to relieve the flight traffic congestion at Perth Airport and development pressure around Jandakot.

Mr Kelly said the latter was unlikely because of the close proximity of the Pearce airbase.

Currently, two such operations would clash. In addition there was also the potential that Pearce would cease to be a military airfield and the infrastructure could be used for civil purposes.

"You have to ask why you would replicate the infrastructure," he said.

One potential employer is the Water Corporation's fourth major wastewater treatment facility for Perth, which is scheduled for stage one completion next year at a cost of $360 million for construction via a partnership including Brookfield Multiplex, Macmahon Contractors and Zublin.

Ultimately, the full Alkimos plant is expected to cost $1 billion.

Mr Kelly said a lot more planning effort was focused on getting jobs linked to new urban development.

"One of the great anomalies for planning in the future is there is a lot of debate about what happens with the Perth CBD," he said.

"The debate needs to be a lot broader; it is not just about people going into the city for work."

Some involved in development of Alkimos-Eglinton and Yanchep-Two Rocks believe there is much greater pressure on them to create employment opportunities, something their predecessors in sub-divisions further south did not have to deal with.

However, Satterley Group's Nigel Satterley denies that his Brighton development in the Butler-Jindalee district got off lightly in this respect.

"The jobs issue was there from day one," Mr Satterley said.

"The government is looking for local jobs creation and training."

Mr Satterley points to The Brighton Training Shed for the wet trades, based at Lukin Drive, which he said had won a Prime Ministers Award. as an example of this.



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