One man, two minds

One is my belief that WA’s future lies with making Perth a lifestyle capital, a place where globally competitive people want to live.

For that we need to provide infrastructure that is expected of far bigger cities. Making transport easier, even from quite distant parts of the city, and trying to reduce traffic congestion and smog are good ways of doing this.

On the other hand, I have learned to listen to those wiser than I, and there are plenty of people who fit into this category.

If business leaders have concerns about this, it is worth listening.

WA is in a rare position. By a quirk of nature we sit atop some of the world’s greatest resources. Yes, that makes us rich, but it doesn’t mean we should squander this legacy.

Building new railways 20 years before there are enough people to use them could be open for criticism, particularly when education is seen to be so short of adequate funding.

If minerals, oil and gas are our current resource, our kids are the future resource.

Let’s hope that this railway is truly a decision in the best long-term interests of the State and not a politically motivated exercise to be seen to be doing something.

Perhaps, like the Sydney Opera House, few people will ever remember how much it cost or whether or not the money could have been better used elsewhere at the time.

Readers might also wonder why we have raised this issue when a railway appears inevitable.

Perhaps, it is increasing concern from business that they have not seen the figures to justify such expenditure.

It may be too late to change this course but it is well worth noting what is on peoples’ minds, particularly those who have themselves invested heavily in WA.

As a footnote, I certainly sup-ported the shift from the Kenwick option to the Narrows Bridge, but the issue of timing is the critical one here.

Two bob each way

IS it my imagination or is there a lot of political softening up going on at the moment.

Apparently, WA’s strong economic performance is the reason we are facing the possibility of a rise in State fees and charges.

The thinking within Government is that strong economic times create a need for more infrastructure as industry expands its operations.

And more infrastructure requires more capital spending.

Opposed to privatisation and committed to maintaining surpluses, that leaves the Gallop Government searching for alternative mechanisms to raise the necessary funding.

“The reason we can’t rule out further revenue options is because when the economy is booming you need to keep your foot to the floor and deliver when it is needed,” one Labor adviser said.

And don’t forget the posturing over WA’s failure to take advantage of gaming.

Geoffrey Gallop’s spokesman denied that the futile demand that the Federal Government compensate WA for not having gaming was softening us up for the inevitable backflip.

Apparently, there will be no gaming machines or poker machines in our clubs and pubs.

Yet here we have the conundrum – gaming will help pay for all that much-needed infrastructure.

I don’t particularly care for gambling, but I wonder if Dr Gallop isn’t hedging his own bets?

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