With the absence of any further ‘free’ daily newspapers appearing at home I have not been on top of the progress of the West Australian’s 2020 series – I made a start a few posts ago however there has been more issues posted. I have to admit that it does appear to be a shorter view of where the state is heading that the CEDA Series – Inventing the Future – Shaping WA 2010 – 2050. That said the more visibility to the general public here in WA as to the issues that we are facing all the better – hopefully it can assist in setting the scene for serious discussions and actual policy changes in the very near future (not withstanding the face that we are soon approaching an election year!).
As I did last time I posted about this series I’ve identified 3 topics to talk about from my perspective – and they are:
- Aging Population
- Rural Issues
The old saying about not believing everything that is in the paper however Perth is the least densely populated city on the planet – and partially due to this as well as many other factors (such as living on the edge of a desert) places us in a pretty unfavourable environmental sustainability position. We have the highest reliance on cars in the country due to how sprawling our city is, people bemoan the lack of public transport; however it cannot be efficient due to everyone living so far away from everything.
There are always exceptions to the rule – however consider increasing the population density of any part of Perth and the NIMBY’s (Not In My Back Yard) and BANANA’s (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything) will be out in force trying to stop it in it’s tracks.
There are good efforts being made as mentioned in the article through groups such as WASEA and others.
To support the doubling of the population in Perth by 2050 there will have to be some changes made to the plan for the metropolitan area as suggested in the 2031 and Beyond program… but rather than just plans we need to see these changed into reality.
There is a trend for people to live longer in western society – nothing surprising about that. This does mean that there will be an increase in the percentage of people making into their 80’s and well past (that’s my younger grandmother who kicked on until the age of 97 – my other one was a mere 104!). This can be construed as a problem that can impact the health and aged care systems (as well as the tax system) in the coming future – and it could be.
This is where the debate for increased immigration is essential to consider – however it is a politically sensitive issue – just look here. There are issues around increased immigration – however we need to have a suitably sized, aged, and skilled workforce to enable the wellbeing of the country. Yes this does mean more training and development of Australians to reduce unemployment rates in those areas that need it, however it is also essential to have the labour force available to help develop the Resources industry which is on of the key economic drivers of this country.
The health and welfare issues related to an ageing population need to be understood and changes need to be made to ensure our future wellbeing.
We use to ride on the sheep’s back and rely heavily on our agricultural industry – here in WA we still export about 40% of the nation’s grain (maybe not this year with the lack of rain). There has been a continued reduction in the population of our rural areas over the past decade and are still in decline.
There is a greater need for a more sustainable approach to the rural part of WA (i.e. everywhere but Perth!) – getting the services provided to such a dispersed population comes with considerable challenges and is something that we need to address in the coming years. Maybe we might hear something about it at the upcoming CEDA event : Population Dispersal and Sustainability…
Once again well done to the WAN for making some of the issues more visible to a greater part of the population of WA.