Plan­ning strat­egy to ease grow­ing pains

Joondalup Weekender - - Opinion - Amanda Davies, plan­ning and ge­og­ra­phy se­nior lec­turer, Curtin Univer­sity

ON Tues­day, Aus­tralia’s pop­u­la­tion clock ticked over to 24 mil­lion. By 2050, the coun­try’s pop­u­la­tion is ex­pected to have grown to 38 mil­lion.

There are three main con­trib­u­tors to Aus­tralia’s pop­u­la­tion growth: first, the num­ber of peo­ple hav­ing ba­bies has in­creased. The av­er­age size of Aus­tralian fam­i­lies has de­creased, but as the pop­u­la­tion has grown there are more peo­ple to have ba­bies – and they are.

This, to­gether with lower in­fant mor­tal­ity rates, has re­sulted in more ba­bies be­ing born and more ba­bies sur­viv­ing to adult­hood.

Se­cond, the tremen­dous ad­vances in pub­lic health, health­care and pre­ven­ta­tive health means that more peo­ple are liv­ing into late old age.

Third, Aus­tralia’s pop­u­la­tion has been bol­stered by in­ter­na­tional mi­gra­tion with more peo­ple mov­ing to Aus­tralia than leav­ing, and this long-term trend is set to con­tinue.

Aus­tralia’s pop­u­la­tion will con­tinue to grow and Perth is set to re­ceive a con­sid­er­able share of this growth.

How­ever, pop­u­la­tion growth in Perth will be lower than that ex­pe­ri­enced dur­ing the 2000s.

The re­cent pe­riod of high pop­u­la­tion growth in WA was ex­cep­tional. It placed enor­mous pres­sure on Perth’s in­fra­struc­ture, with this acutely felt in the cities of Wan­neroo and Joon­dalup where much of the pop­u­la­tion growth was con­cen­trated.

In 2015, Perth’s pop­u­la­tion growth re­turned to a more “nor­mal” rate, but the greater Perth and Man­durah re­gion is still pro­jected to swell to 3.5 mil­lion by 2050.

The State Govern­ment has set out its plans to ac­com­mo­date the an­tic­i­pated pop­u­la­tion growth in the draft metropoli­tan plan­ning strat­egy, Perth and Peel at 3.5 mil­lion.

Promis­ingly, the strat­egy sup­ports the de­vel­op­ment of con­sid­er­ably more di­ver­si­fied and live­able hous­ing op­tions in both in­fill ar­eas and new land de­vel­op­ments. It sup­ports curb­ing the out­ward sprawl of Perth and an in­creased fo­cus on lo­cal em­ploy­ment and ser­vice pro­vi­sion.

Achiev­ing th­ese goals will not be easy in the con­text of a grow­ing pop­u­la­tion. The mooted in­tro­duc­tion of Com­mu­nity Ti­tles (an al­ter­na­tive to sin­gle strata schemes and green ti­tles) will be one of the key changes needed to help de­velop more con­nected and vi­brant mid and high-den­sity ar­eas.

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