House debates

Thursday, 3 December 2015


Cowan Electorate: Infrastructure

11:37 am

Photo of Luke SimpkinsLuke Simpkins (Cowan, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

When I look back upon the last eight years, I can see that a lot of infrastructure has been provided in Cowan. I personally have been involved in many petitions and other advocacy is since 2004. Numerous black spots have been improved, such as at the intersection of Illawarra Crescent North and Alexander Drive, where traffic lights were installed and funded by this government. I remember having many discussions locally about the need for improved safety at that intersection. The brick wall at No. 1 Illawarra Crescent North has, I hope, been rebuilt for the last time. With the traffic lights helping to control traffic there, I also hope there will be no more car crashes.

The interchanges on the Reid Highway at Mirrabooka Avenue and Alexander Drive have been in place now for a couple of years, and I certainly advocated for them in the past, from 2008 in this place and before that as part of the 2007 campaign. Currently there is much work going on at the federally funded interchange at Malaga Drive and Reid Highway. That is a project I first called for on 12 November 2008. It is very pleasing to see the outstanding progress, with the bridge sections now in place. When work is completed on this project in the coming months, it will be very good news for the business traffic in Malaga and for the many of my constituents that use the Reid Highway. Adjacent to Malaga, this government's NorthLink project will provide the Swan Valley bypass a far better route for heavy traffic from and into the north-eastern parts of Perth.

Further east in Cowan, there are also important needs relating to roads and other community infrastructure. Marshall Road east of Beechboro Road is in need of being a dual carriageway over to Lord Street. This is important because of the increasing amount of traffic accessing the suburb of Bennett Springs from Marshall Road and also the Beechboro Christian School, the Cracovia Club, the Shree Swaminarayan temple, the Sikh temple and the nearby Vatthanak Samaky temple, along with a number of residences and businesses located along Marshall Road. The speed limit is mainly 80 kilometres an hour and there is a safety issue for those trying to turn into the driveways and those that try to go around them on an unsafe surface. I understand that this issue has not been raised before but I think it is important and should be done.

To further assist with the traffic flows in the nearby area, the Reid Highway should also be made a dual carriageway between Beechboro Road and Lord Street. This is a major arterial road and, although I appreciate the existing demands on the Barnett government, that dualling is important to improve traffic flows.

Between Beechboro and Kiara, there is also an issue with traffic congestion on Benara Road. Benara Road links the Tonkin Highway to West Swan Road and at various times there are problems with the way the traffic flows through there.

Roads obviously affect the day-to-day lives of everyone as they move around, but there are other important projects that are being planned in the eastern parts of Cowan. I have already mentioned on previous occasions the Kingsway Regional Sporting Complex in Madeley, but the City of Swan also plans a similar complex of facilities on the land between Marshall Road and Beechboro Road. Such a complex of sporting fields and facilities would of course also be well served by a dual carriageway on Marshall Road. The total cost of the Whiteman Regional Open Space is expected to be in excess of $250 million but they are seeking some initial funding for several ovals at $20 million.

In Beechboro just near the Altone Park shopping centre, the City of Swan is looking to rebuild Brockman House. Apart from rehousing the Brockman House organisation, this will enable the city's west Swan homes support facility, as well as providing a multipurpose and multicultural community hub. It is planned that this hub would be supported by the state Department of Communities and other state and federal agencies.

I know as well that the Dungeon Youth Centre in Ballajura is an organisation that is well regarded in Ballajura and by young people locally. With the facilities at the centre and with the close-by skate park, this is something of a model that the City of Swan would like to see in the Altone Park complex in Beechboro. The provision of local government and state services and support would also be welcomed by local people. These are worthy infrastructure projects and, together with the CCTV proposals I have advanced previously, comprise important needs of the community.

In overall terms, although there have been great infrastructure achievements in Cowan in recent years, there is more to be done. Yes, much of what needs to be done is of a local government responsibility, and clearly the main roads belong to the government of Western Australia, as does service delivery in some of the areas I have mentioned. That all being said, these projects have my support and I will pursue planning for them and their delivery on behalf of my constituents.

11:42 am

Photo of Anthony AlbaneseAnthony Albanese (Grayndler, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport) Share this | | Hansard source

Urbanisation has changed our way of life. Four out of every five Australians live in our cities. By 2031, our four largest capitals, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, will have increased by 46 per cent. The other capital cities, including the nation's capital, as well as Adelaide, Hobart and Darwin are expected to grow by nearly 30 per cent. I support urban renewal and I also support appropriately increasing density in our cities. But, as Danish architect Jan Gehl said, 'First life, then spaces, then buildings—the other way around never works.' Hence the concern that I have about the Sydenham to Bankstown Urban Renewal Corridor and the Parramatta Road Urban Transformation Strategy.

I am concerned that there has not been appropriate community consultation in a meaningful way on these proposals. I have met with local groups including the Save Dully Action Group, Save Marrickville, Help Save Lewisham, and the Hurlstone Park Association amongst others. They have been out in their neighbourhoods making sure that people have the information that they need and coordinating a community response.

I have also raised my concerns directly with the New South Wales planning minister, Rob Stokes. Community engagement should be at the core of any change to people's neighbourhoods. What we have here is a considerable proposal that will change the character of many of the suburbs. We need to make sure that we get planning right, that community services and infrastructure are in place to deal with increased densities. There are examples where it can be got right and examples where it is being got wrong right in my local neighbourhood. An example is a recent new development in Dulwich Hill on Wardell Road, right near the station. It is a box with a couple of windows on the side. It has no character. It is a considerable increase in density and an eyesore that has brought nothing to the character of our local community. In my view, it is an inappropriate development that has undermined support for increasing density. There are other cases—even some that were controversial at the time—where it has been done properly. For example, the old Marrickville RSL site on Illawarra Road near my electorate office, right next to Marrickville station, is a considerable increase in density but it is appropriate. Right next to the station, it is appropriate that people have that rail access.

We need to make sure that we have appropriate green buildings—that we bring in renewable energy, water recycling and appropriate development that takes into account the need to also have open space and recreational facilities so that there is an improvement in the quality of life. I look to examples like the One Central building on Broadway. Again, it is a considerable increase in density but an appropriate development which has open space and therefore can bring the community with it. If there are simply lines done on a map in way that does not have appropriate community consultation and where there is, in some circumstances, overdevelopment and no accounting for community space and facilities, then the support for increased density will simply not be there.

Urban renewal does bring great opportunity. It is a chance to address issues of inequality associated with drive-in, drive-out suburbs as well as to tackle the growing problem of congestion, given that a lot of the jobs growth has been in the inner suburbs of our communities. But we need to make sure that we get it right. We have one chance to get it right. I call upon the New South Wales government to do much better and to have appropriate consultation that is meaningful and that can change the draft plans where they need to be changed. At the moment it is very clear that there is some inappropriate development whereby there will be an increase in traffic congestion rather than an improvement in the quality of life for people directly affected in my local community by these proposals.