13/02/2008 - 22:00

Where there's a will...

13/02/2008 - 22:00

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The state government has delivered an unusual flurry of major social infrastructure announcements over the past week.

The state government has delivered an unusual flurry of major social infrastructure announcements over the past week.

Coinciding with the opening of the Perth International Arts Festival, the government announcements have helped to foster a sense of anticipation rarely experienced in Perth.

The commitment to proceed with a $1.1 billion major sports stadium at Subiaco followed an excruciatingly protracted debate.

Former Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA chief executive John Langoulant, who chaired the major stadia taskforce, spoke for many people in Perth when recently he expressed frustration at the lack of a decision.

It’s a relief that the government has committed to proceed.

The $500 million development of a museum at the East Perth power station site is another visionary project that offers the potential to add a new dimension to Perth’s cultural life.

Then there’s the new-found support for riverfront development near the CBD, and talk that the Northbridge Link project will also proceed.

Collectively these projects will leave Perth with a positive and tangible legacy from the boom, if implemented effectively and tastefully.

One danger is that the government will succumb to penny pinching.

Former premier Richard Court famously scaled back the Bell Tower near Barrack St jetty to try and make it more palatable for taxpayers, and the result was a facility that has pleased nobody.

The community mood has changed since then.

The government’s coffers are overflowing, state debt is at record lows, and there is potential for treasurer Eric Ripper to prudently deliver both tax cuts and major infrastructure projects.

Another big challenge is delivering infrastructure projects in a cost-effective manner at a time of soaring costs and chronic skills shortages.

There is no easy answer to that problem.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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