Advocacy in Action - Towards a Bright Future

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Six years ago our Towards a Bright Future – A vision for Perth as a region of 3.5 million people report articulated two scenarios for Perth’s future. The best case – Bright Future, is one where the Perth region works together, innovates and adapts to deliver a creative and diverse economic future supported by talented and inclusive people, diverse lifestyles, vibrant centres, efficient infrastructure and a clean, green environment. The worst case – Business as Usual, portrays a region that continues down the same path and is punctuated by a lack of economic diversity, skill deficits, urban sprawl, dull, boring urban spaces, traffic congestion and fragmented decision-making.

Since its release, Towards a Bright Future has been central to our advocacy agenda because of its clear articulation of what is needed as Perth moves from a small to a medium-sized city.

Progress has been made. New development and redevelopments, urban renewal, placemaking and cultural infrastructure initiatives from Elizabeth Quay and Yagan Square to festivals such as FRINGE WORLD, community markets and food trucks have increased urban and cultural vibrancy in the CBD and the region.

Commitments such as METRONET, Westport, and the expansion of Perth Airport will also improve ‘hard’ infrastructure and support long-term population growth, but arguably do not go far enough to deliver the high-quality public transport system and vibrant, connected knowledge and innovation hubs envisaged for a bright future.

It is also evident that our vision for an innovative, entrepreneurial and diverse future economy for the region is yet to materialise. While our recent FACTBase Special Report - Perth as a resilient economy challenged conventional wisdom by demonstrating Perth and Peel’s economic resilience over the past 40 years, it also highlights the challenges, disruptions and headwinds facing the region’s existing and emerging diverse industries.

And while the State Government’s Perth and Peel@3.5million land use and transport strategy makes steps to provide a vision for the region’s land use future, Greater Perth still lacks a long-term, collective vision and integrated strategy to unify government and non-government action in the region.

Furthermore, while  progress has been made towards reconciliation and acknowledging and respecting Indigenous culture and history, this remains an ongoing challenge.

Yet there are also Towards a Bright Future recommendations that are yet to be realised, including:

  • Local government reform and delivery of a metropolitan governance framework;
  • Improved participation in public policy development;
  • Development and promotion of a positive and consistent regional image;
  • A quality interconnected public transport network that includes light rail;
  • Establishing connected, knowledge, innovation and creativity hubs;
  • Commitment to and leadership in global shifts to environmental sustainability; and
  • Leading green innovation by investing in renewable energy and resource efficiency.

These issues remain central to the Committee for Perth's research and advocacy agenda and to that end, in August we will release a report articulating the macro-findings of the seven What We Thought Would Kill Us case studies. It calls for meaningful participation and community engagement in shaping the region’s future, while in October, the B4 project report will flesh out the evidence and specify new actions to deliver the diverse and innovative knowledge economy envisaged by our members and stakeholders in 2012.

Reflecting back on the recommendations in Towards a Bright Future, it is clear that while the future can be bright, Perth remains at a critical point in time in which bold decision-making is needed to ensure our collective aspirations are realised. It is also clear that this will require a whole of government, business and community commitment to ensure that Perth remains highly liveable and increasingly globally connected. 


Other articles from Insight, July 2018 (view email newsletter):