FROM JOHN’S DESK
Welcome to the 2018 autumn edition of my newsletter. It is a privilege to represent the electorate of South Perth for another term, following my re-election at the 2017 state election. Once again, I thank the electorate for continuing to support and put their trust in me.
Although being a Shadow Minister in Opposition adds to my responsibilities and focus, I am committed to engaging, corresponding and meeting with constituents whenever possible to stay in touch with their situations and concerns.
Over the past year, my electorate office has responded to enquiries and requests for assistance/advice in relation to proposed developments, road safety, law and order/community safety, policing, health, utilities, education (service and infrastructure), public housing, planning, sport and many other areas. When possible, I made the time to visit/meet with constituents on-site to gain a better understanding of their concerns/issues. In addition to the work undertaken by my electorate office in providing some service, my good relationship with many McGowan Government Ministers has allowed me to directly bring matters to their attention on behalf of my constituents.
In the past few years, the South Perth electorate has been undergoing what some would call progress and what others would call disruption. It is public knowledge that I support the vision and plans of the City of South Perth to develop and rejuvenate some of its areas. I am regularly approached by constituents raising concerns in relation to the type, size and extent of a proposed development. Some of the high profile ones in recent years include planning and development decisions in and around the South Perth peninsula and foreshore, Mends Street redevelopment proposals, the Como Hotel expansion plans (to include a Dan Murphy’s liquor store), the application for a Farmer Jack’s supermarket to open in Como, and high-density living developments around the electorate. I have always approached these issues on a case-by-case and pragmatic basis. While in principle I support progress in some areas of the electorate, I take concerns raised by my constituents into serious consideration in supporting or opposing a particular proposed development, especially if the development is likely to have an adverse impact on the amenity of the area and livelihood of the local residents. At the same time, I acknowledge and support the pressing need for the City of South Perth to plan for and accommodate the future, which includes a projection of increased population density.
With this in mind, I am committed to continuing to work with my constituents and stakeholders around South Perth. Constituents are always welcome to contact my electorate office and get in touch with me.
John McGrath MLA
Member for South Perth
AROUND THE STATE
Perth embraces new stadium
In politics it is not often that one gets to be involved in a project as big or significant to the State as the new Perth Stadium. That, however, was my privilege when in July 2011 former premier Colin Barnett appointed me to the position of Parliamentary Secretary to assist a steering committee formed to manage planning and development of the new stadium.
Mr Barnett appreciated my long experience both as a senior sports writer and Sports Editor with The West Australian. I had also put the case for Burswood being the preferred site both in speeches in Parliament and in an opinion piece published by The West Australian on 19 June 2010. In my opinion the Burswood site offered the chance to establish a sports entertainment precinct and avoid disruption to AFL games while it was being constructed. It was with pleasure and excitement that I, along with the Leader of the Opposition Dr Mike Nahan MLA and thousands of other Western Australians, attended the Stadium open day in January 2018.
The 60,000-seat Stadium is a multi-purpose venue that will host Australian Rules Football, cricket, rugby league and union, football (soccer) and entertainment events. It is the third largest capacity stadium in Australia after the Melbourne Cricket Ground (with capacity of over 100,000 people) and Stadium Australia in Sydney (84,000). On 3 and 4 March 2018, it successfully accommodated the long-awaited Ed Sheeran concert, which attracted around up to 120,000 people over two nights.
Thanks to the vision of the former Liberal-led government, Western Australia now has a stadium that will promote the state to the world, draw scores of tourists/visitors to the state and fuel economic activities, while giving a first-class venue for Western Australians to watch elite sport. I am proud to be part of this project and its journey. I encourage all Western Australians to take the opportunity to experience it.
The West Australian, 28 May 2010
The West Australian, 19 June 2010
Southern Gazette, 12 July 2011
Proposed expansion of ferry services
In 2016, as Chair of the State Government’s Ferries Working Group (FWG), I led a team of experts from various Departments and agencies tasked with identifying opportunities for an expansion of Perth’s ferry network. The FWG included broad representation from the Department of Transport, Transperth, Public Transport Authority, the former Department of Parks and Wildlife, Tourism WA and the Department of Planning. The FWG completed its interim report in December 2016.
In Parliament on 10 August 2017, I highlighted the work undertaken by the group in identifying the immediate and short-to-long-term opportunities. These include:
- A ferry stop at Guildford to cater for tourists taking commercial ferries to visit the Swan Valley region.
- Introduction of a public ferry loop service linking places like Elizabeth Quay, Waterbank, Optus Stadium, Claisebrook Cove, the Crown complex, Burswood Peninsula, Belmont Park and East Perth Power Station, as well a public ferry service between Canning Bridge, Matilda Bay and Elizabeth Quay.
- Commissioning of a third public transport ferry to increase the current ferry service capability and serve the Optus Stadium and/or Elizabeth Quay during special events.
- Considerations for Canning Bridge to provide for access to the foreshore and a ferry stop.
- A further assessment/modelling of potential new ferry services to and from Canning Bridge to test viability.
Regular commuter use of ferries is set to continue to increase, especially when parts of Perth are developing towards higher density, which we see now in the South Perth electorate and also across the river in Applecross. There is a growing push from the community for greater use of the Swan River for both commuter and tourism ferry transport, driven by the completion of Elizabeth Quay and Optus Stadium.
Our city is going to grow, and requires a long-term vision and commitment by the State Government for ferry transport.
This article was later corrected to state that part of the report’s recommendations included raising the vertical clearance of the Causeway bridge, not Narrows Bridge.
Manning Road southbound on-ramp to Kwinana Freeway
In May 2017, I welcomed a Commonwealth-State funding agreement that will see construction of a southbound on-ramp to the Kwinana Freeway at Manning Road. The agreement will see the Commonwealth Government contribute $28 million and the State Government $7 million to undertake the $35 million infrastructure project.
When I first raised this issue in 2005 it received overwhelming community support. However, while the Department of Transport identified it as an important infrastructure, other projects seemed to be given priority. Following the Turnbull Government’s funding commitment in 2016, the former Barnett Government also committed to fund this project during the 2017 state election campaign.
This is an overdue and crucial project given that:
- The development of the Canning Bridge precinct will more than double the population and number of residential dwellings in the area by 2031.
- The Bentley-Curtin Specialised Activity Centre will also directly impact the Kwinana Freeway/Canning Highway interchange, requiring a high standard of transport accessibility.
- A new merge lane from the on-ramp to the freeway heading south.
- Closure of access to Manning Road from Lockhart Street.
- Left-out only access at Edgecumbe Street to Manning Road.
- A right-turn pocket from Manning Road to Clydesdale Street (south) and a provision for future signalised access at the Manning Road intersection with Clydesdale Street.
Community information sessions were held on 7 and 12 April 2018 at the George Burnett Leisure Centre in Karawara, providing an opportunity for residents and road users to discuss the project with Main Roads Western Australia.
Construction work is currently scheduled to begin in early 2019, subject to land acquisition and the competitive tender process being successfully initiated. You are welcome to contact 138 138 or [email protected] if you have any questions regarding the project. For the latest updates on this project, please click here.
AROUND THE ELECTORATE
Supporting Como Secondary College
During the 2017 state election campaign, the Barnett Government announced a re-election commitment to deliver $20 million upgrades to both the Como Secondary College (built in 1969) and Kent Street Senior High School (built in 1940). It would have provided the schools with improved and modern facilities in line with the needs of secondary education in the 21st century. Although the Barnett Government was not re-elected, and this commitment never eventuated, I have continued to support and speak on behalf of these two schools in and outside of Parliament.
Throughout 2017, I met with staff and students of Como Secondary College on several occasions. This includes inviting a number of the students involved in the College’s Enriched Mathematics, Information Technology and Science (EMITS) program to lunch at Parliament in December 2017.
Como Secondary College has approximately 830 students, made up of:
- 437 in its local intake area of Como, Karawara, Manning, Salter Point, Waterford, parts of Wilson, and parts of South Perth.
- 393 from outside its local intake areas, which include: Victoria Park, East Victoria Park, Kensington, St James, Bentley, Cannington, Lathlain, and Carlisle.
Students attending the College’s specialist programs also travel from suburbs such as Leeming, South Lake, Hammond Park, Meadow Springs, Canning Vale, Kenwick, Seville Grove, Ballajura, Duncraig, and Currambine.
The above statistics show that over half of the students at Como Secondary College come from the South Perth electorate. The rest come from multiple electorates near and far, including Labor electorates.
A list of issues that require urgent attention includes water leakage affecting some facilities, poor quality gutters, ongoing drainage problems, the need to resurface and for new line-marking on the outdoor basketball courts, the need for an additional change room, among others.
Although I accept that the McGowan Government has different priorities, I do hope that it is also attentive to the needs of Como Secondary College, especially since the College also caters for the needs of students from areas outside the South Perth electorate. I have spoken on behalf of Como Secondary College in Parliament numerous times, and will continue to do so.
The John McGrath Pavilion and Hall
I am deeply honoured and humbled by the decision by the City of South Perth to name their new community facilities on Ernest Johnson Reserve the John McGrath Pavilion and John McGrath Hall.
The Reserve, formerly known as the South Perth Oval or Civic Centre Reserve, was developed in the 1940s. This reserve and other developments have contributed to the lifestyle many residents of South Perth and surrounding areas enjoy today. The new and enhanced facilities, officially opened on 1 March 2018, will ensure the local community is well served for many years to come.
I am grateful for the support from the City of South Perth, the local sporting and community clubs, family and friends, and my Parliamentary colleagues from both sides of politics who were part of the opening night: Hon Ben Wyatt MLA, Hon Mick Murray MLA, Dean Nalder MLA, Hon Nick Goiran MLC, and Hon Simon O’Brien MLC. Thank you to those who took part in the evening’s formal proceedings and offered a few kind words: City of South Perth Chief Executive Officer Mr Geoff Glass, Mayor Sue Doherty, Councillor and President of the South Perth Junior Football Club Travis Burrows, Gavin Taylor of the Western Australian Football Commission and Alan “Chubby” Stiles, who grew up in South Perth and played all his junior football on EJ Oval before becoming a fine Western Australian Football League player with Perth. My gratitude also goes to staff members at the City of South Perth whose hard work made the opening night a successful and memorable occasion.
Joint Select Committee for End-of-Life Choices
In August 2017, Parliament established the Joint Select Committee for End-of-Life Choices in order to:
- Assess the practices currently being utilised within the medical community to assist a person to exercise their preferences for the way they want to manage their end of life when experiencing chronic and/or terminal illnesses, including the role of palliative care;
- Review the current framework of legislation, proposed legislation and other relevant reports and materials in other Australian States and Territories and overseas jurisdictions;
- Consider what type of legislative change may be required, including an examination of any federal laws that may impact such legislation; and
- Examine the role of Advanced Health Directives, Enduring Power of Attorney and Enduring Power of Guardianship laws and the implications for individuals covered by these instruments in any proposed legislation.
Along with Chair Amber-Jade Sanderson MLA, Hon Colin Holt MLC, Hon Robin Chapple MLC, Hon Nick Goiran MLC, Simon Millman MLA, Hon Dr Sally Talbot MLC, and Reece Whitby MLA, I accepted the opportunity to serve on this committee. When this committee was established, I expressed my concerns in Parliament about the composition of the committee, and on why this committee was needed, after the Premier and Government members of the committee have publicly stated they are in support of assisted dying. I also stated that I have no wish to be part of a committee that eventually will just rubber-stamp the McGowan Government’s own agenda in legalising assisted dying. It is my role, as a non-Government member of the committee, to make sure we have independent minds looking at the submissions and evidence in order to present well-considered recommendations to Parliament on this difficult and sensitive issue.
The committee has received more than 600 submissions as part of its enquiry. Public hearings started in December 2017 and are currently ongoing. The committee is due to present its report to Parliament in August this year. I welcome and would like to encourage input from my constituents in South Perth on this matter, should the McGowan Government decide to bring assisted dying legislation for debate.
State Budget 2018 – 2019
The Treasurer, Hon Ben Wyatt MLA, will hand down the 2018 – 2019 Western Australian State Budget on 10 May 2018. This will be another opportunity for the Liberal Opposition to scrutinise the McGowan Government’s priorities, after it broke several election promises in the last financial year’s budget.
The McGowan Government’s decisions so far continue to demonstrate its inability to meet its extensive election commitments without raising taxes. Last year’s budget also contained a number of cuts in the areas of education and sport that directly impacted Western Australian families and children.
In budget estimates committee hearings, I will not just focus on my shadow portfolios of racing and gaming/sport and recreation, but also on how the McGowan Government’s decisions impact my electorate. I would like to encourage you to get in contact with me if you have any issues or concerns in relation to the McGowan Government’s budget decisions after 10 May 2018.
OUT AND ABOUT
Copyright © 2018, John McGrath MLA, All rights reserved.