Premier in Print

THIS week’s launch of Professor Frank Crowley’s biography of Sir John Forrest is especially timely as we head towards the celebration of the Centenary of Federation.

Launched on the 153rd anniversary of the birthday of our State’s first Premier, the book is a strong reminder of his determination to make sure Western Australia did not lose too much power to the new commonwealth Government under federation.

He was adamant that Western Australia would only enter the federation if it got a fair go.

Now, 100 years on, we are seeing that his concerns were justified and much of the balance he fought for has been lost as a result of persistent centralism.

The revenue-sharing arrangements between the Commonwealth and the States is just one area in which Western Australia is getting a raw deal now – it was an issue 100 years ago and still is today!

These arrangements see more than $2 billion a year flowing out of Western Australia.

The recent tax reforms have guaranteed that we will finally have access to a growth revenue, but the money will still not be distributed on an acceptable basis.

We are preparing a case for a more equitable distribution.

CONTINUING initiatives and action to cut the crime rate are bringing some good results.

Police crime statistics show the crime rate in Western Australia has steadied over the past few years and there is a downward trend in the number of reported offences.

It is particularly encouraging to see fewer crimes in key categories including armed robbery (down by 15.1 per cent); car theft (down by 9.2 per cent) and sexual assault (down by 15.6 per cent).

The statistics vary around the State with positive results in some regions countered by increases in reported crimes in others.

In all cases, the results highlight the need for a constant focus on preventing crime and the importance of programs such as SaferWA.

WESTERN Australians will be the big winners from the agreement for Perth to host five international rugby union matches between 2001 and 2005.

Conservative estimates for the total economic impact of the games on the State’s economy put the figure at around the $25 million mark.

Three of the matches will be part of the Tri-Nations series with Australia’s Wallabies playing the South African Springboks.

In the other two, the Wallabies will play Canada and either Italy or Scotland.

The agreement follows the great success of the Wallabies matches played in Perth.

IT IS great to see the Perth International Arts Festival moving forward with its program for 2001 and aiming for new audiences in new areas.

Last week’s launch of the 2001 poster included an outline of some of what we can expect early next year with new and old features, and local and international artists and displays, promising enormous cultural variety.

The program starts on Australia Day and continues to February 18.

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