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Going underground

A HEARTY welcome to the concept of an underground railway in Perth from its friends here at Business News.

And while we are at it, perhaps my congratulations (for the first time) should go to Geoff Gallop for getting it right.

While the previous State Government may have had its reasons for connecting the southern reaches of our growing city via Kenwick, I have always questioned the long-term value of this option.

Transport is about efficiency. Making people travel through the eastern outskirts added too much to the journey and was an unwelcome compromise.

The two obvious options – to my mind – were the newly favoured one, straight down the guts of the Kwinana Freeway, or a more scenic route through Fremantle.

Being a bit of a fan of the tourism industry, I always felt the latter option was worth a guernsey, but I will settle for the more practical Kwinana offering.

Hopefully, one day, we’ll get that scenery by taking the railway right down to the South West and make it one of the great rail journeys of the world ... or is that the trainspotter in me coming out?

Maybe, though, we’ll first have to get over the pain of building an international airport down south that no-one needs before we dare get a train to go all the way!

The Mandurah link through the southern suburbs will provide better service to the areas that city workers live in, as well as cutting substantial time off the trip for those commuters in the growth areas of Rockingham and Mandurah.

We have already spoiled the South Perth foreshore with an asphalt lining, so I can’t see a train line creating the blight that some of its critics have complained about.

And while aesthetics are important, getting a train line under the city is one of the most significant pieces of infrastructure needed in Perth – not necessarily now, but certainly as our home grows.

The ridiculous situation where many city workers remain isolated from what should the CBD’s transport hub will not end with this option, but it will help.

If Perth really wants to be an international city of the future, this is the sort of thinking required.

Monet, Monet, Monet

IT’s refreshing to hear so much optimism in the arts community again.

The current Monet exhibition has captured attention from both corporates and the general public, allowing organisers to be almost bullish about their expectations.

Let’s hope it all goes to plan.

I don’t want to spoil the party, but we don’t want to revisit the disappointment and eventual witchhunt which surrounded the Perth International Arts Festival in 2000.

More importantly, the Monet works are attracting big crowds.

Putting ‘bums on seats’, as the arts fraternity so glibbly refers the practice of pulling a crowd, is more important than ever.

With dwindling state sponsorship, corporate money must be found.

Businesses tend to focus on the value of their spending and numbers equals audience reach to the private sector.

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