The release of the WA Government’s strategic plan for public transport in Perth, the draft Public Transport for Perth in 2031 (the Plan) coincides with a campaign by the Property Council to refocus public policy around making our cities work better and prepare for the growth ahead. The release of the Plan was highly anticipated in the property sector and the Plan is recognised as the key missing linkage in the Perth and Peel strategic urban growth strategy.
The Property Council evaluated the Plan according to two key parameters: whether it will adequately cater for Perth’s expected growth; and whether it will attract private sector engagement to construct the buildings and amenities that will maximise the community benefits flowing from the Plan. Consultations with property sector stakeholders reveals qualified support for the Plan’s capacity to meet Perth’s urban growth needs, however there is widespread concern that the development conditions proposed for the Plan are onerous and may discourage engagement by the property sector.
Expected growth in Perth
The Plan was developed in close consultation with the WA Planning Commission and it is consistent with the Perth and Peel regions’ strategic growth framework, Directions 2031 and Beyond. The Property Council is a strong supporter of the strategic urban growth targets in Directions 2031, including 47 per cent infill development focused around activity centres and 53 per cent urban development in outer metropolitan greenfields areas.
There is concern in the property sector that the Plan has underestimated the likely population growth for Perth and Peel, which will lead to continuing congestion pressures in public transport system. There is also a concern that the underestimation of population growth will lead to parts of the metropolitan area being downgraded in terms of access to the transformational projects in the Plan.
Private sector engagement
There is widespread concern in the property sector with two of the conditions proposed for the transformational projects in the Plan, including private sector contributions to the capital costs of the projects, and the securing of minimum development outcomes.
In spite of public transport being an important enabler of development in Perth there is little support for the notion in the Plan that proximity to public transport nodes and greater density development corresponds to higher property values to enable ‘value extraction’ by the Government, in the form of added development levies or betterment charges. Such levies or charges would act as disincentives to development in Perth today.