29/05/2007 - 22:00

Some positives in stadium debate

29/05/2007 - 22:00


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So, the argument goes on for another week about the proposed new sports stadium for Perth.

So, the argument goes on for another week about the proposed new sports stadium for Perth.

I’ve had a chance to review much of the material and hear both sides of the story. I remain as ambivalent as I was in last week’s column, believing there are more important things that need to be done.

However, sporting facilities are still important. I definitely noted that when I ended up in the second last row of Subiaco’s three-tier stand for a recent Western Force game. The view was spectacular but there was a lot wrong with that tired old part of the stadium.

Anyway, one thing I have learned is just how much the costs of stadiums elsewhere in Australia are funded by gambling revenue.

That is a luxury we don’t have, and I’m happy for things to stay that way.

The very fact that we can talk about such infrastructure development without gambling revenues shows how strong our economy is and what a windfall this generation of Western Australians is receiving.

All parties in the stadium debate ought to consider this fact.

This is a one-off. It is very likely the money this state has available will dwindle as mining cools and governments find other ways to spend it (or give it back).

The people of WA may wish to leave a real legacy for the next generations, all without expecting anyone to gamble their savings away to achieve it.


Decisions, decisions

Speaking of stadiums, the state government has at least gone for it with Perth Arena, even though it must have hurt to give such a prestige job to Len Buckeridge’s BGC.

But even there, issues about decision-making haunt what should be a simple new project.

Right next door, Kerry Stokes’ Seven Network Ltd wants to develop the now defunct Perth Entertainment Centre but can’t get the go-ahead without a master plan for the Northbridge Link project.


Sharing the boom's benefits with all

In this week marking 40 years since Australia’s Aboriginal people were fully included in our democracy, it’s hard to be entirely positive about the experience.

Columnist Tim Treadgold notes the sorry side of the indigenous experience in this week’s Briefcase.

But it’s not all bad. I was heartened to see that a new study found indigenous people represented 8 per cent of employees in the mining sector. While the study was limited, the numbers at the sites surveyed were twice anything previously recorded.

While I don’t like to compare my idea of success with those of others, I feel the common ground is greatest when people work side by side.


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