Decentralisation a must for WA
Australia is one of the most urbanised countries in the world.
Most Aussies live in cities close to the coast.
And one of the biggest cities is Perth.
I’m led to believe that our State capital is the same size (in area) as Paris. Perth holds more than three-quarters of WA’s population.
Now, there is obviously some geographical reasons why most West Australians live in the south-west corner but I believe it’s a ridiculous situation.
I’m no economist but I’m thinking, with some changes in government direction, attitude and policy, the wealth could be more evenly spread.
You could say the City of Perth stretches from Joondalup in the north, through to Mandurah’s outlying suburbs to the south, and the population is serviced by a multitude of modern shopping centres and subsequent industry.
Indeed, this is where the wealth of WA families is spent.
Many would say that this concentration of growth is also a sign of the times.
The economy is not as much influenced today by agricultural industries, as in the past. Does it have to be this way? If things don’t change, Perth is just going to keep on growing.
It’s already outgrown Adelaide, and is steadily creeping up on Brisbane.
Experts will say that Queensland and WA’s economic and geographic influences are distinctly different but I sit back and look at Queensland and think that State seems to have the balance right.
Brisbane holds a lot of that State’s population but stretching south, east and north, there are other significant population centres.
These include Ipswich, Townsville, the Gold Coast, Rockhampton and Cairns, and with simply a change in State Government attitude, I think, things could be a little like that here.
A bold policy of decentralisation could start to not only spread out the population but also pay significant economic dividends.
I’m talking firstly about the relocation of government departments and associated initiatives to regional centres such as Geraldton.
For example, the fisheries department would suit Geraldton well, while the energy one would be an ideal fit for a place like Kalgoorlie.
Moving an entity such as this to a regional location would bring with it employees and their families, which then would lead to more extra services and trades to help cater for this.
The population would grow, and the economy would be stimulated greatly.
It would seem tough that the current Government doesn’t think such an idea has merit.
I recently put the question of decentralisation to Alannah MacTiernan, Minister for Regional Development; Agriculture and Food.
Ms MacTiernan, who also assists the Minister for State Development, Jobs and Trade, simply brushed off the question, suggesting that Queensland was a completely different situation to WA, and could not be compared.
She went on to suggest her government would always be keen to investigate commercial ideas for economic growth in regional WA.
Isn’t that like expecting the cart to pull the horse?
But I’m no expert.