Many of the issues which arise in North Metro are the same issues that arise across all of the metropolitan area. Inappropriate developments are of great concern, particularly inappropriate coastal developments which continue to disrupt our precious coastlines. Bush Forever sites despite being statutorily protected are under constant threat. We are losing our green spaces and also losing our spaces to recreate as a community and those which keep our cities cool.
Transport is as much of an issue as it is everywhere particularly in the northern corridor. We push our urban boundaries out further and further with no regard to how these communities will be serviced and with apparently no limits to how large Perth is prepared to get. Long term plans for public transport need to be in place along with affordable housing for everyone. This is why The Greens’ plans for a sustainable Perth become so critical. As a part of these plans, climate change needs to be taken seriously by every single person and addressed appropriately. Livable cities and communities that are accessible for children, people with disability and elderly Australians need to be planned for to complement transport infrastructure.
I am also very concerned about unemployment, the increase in rates of underemployment, insecure employment and the need to ensure that we are facilitating people’s capacity to transition into new industries and professions within a diversified economy. ‘Green’ jobs, in manufacturing and smart technology and renewables are a part of this transition. But so are our social services. Jobs in mental health, working with older Australians, community services are also ‘green’ jobs and an important part of our jobs future. Part of this is ensuring that our training and further education sector is accessible and affordable, something which has deteriorated under the Barnett Government.
We also know that there is rising community concern about the effect that drugs in particular are having within our community. Often illicit drug use is associated with mental health distress and we know that the tough on crime approach simply doesn’t work when it comes to people who are caught in the grip of drug abuse. In fact, it can make things far worse. We need to encourage growth of services in mental health, in particular community managed mental health services which help people to live well within our communities. We need to ensure that we have the services available when people are desperate to have their alcohol and other drug issues addressed. Because we have adopted such a punitive approach to law and order our prisons have become overcrowded to the point where the budget has burst and people are now being imprisoned when other options would be far better. Our commitment to justice reinvestment would address the social determinants that lead to offending behaviours. We need to ensure we have affordable housing options, that we address systemic and intergenerational poverty and unemployment. This results in safer communities and literally saves lives.
The gutting of our public services has been detrimental to all members of our community. From losing critical oversight of worker safety, to enforcement of environmental protections, to an overburdened child protection system and everything in between, decisions to gut our public sector has an injurious effect on our entire community.
We need to ensure that we are protecting our sense of cohesiveness as a community. Our multiculturalism as a community is to be valued and protected, from our first Australians to those with culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds who are our newest Australians.
Photo: Alison Xamon. Jacqueline Jane