HON ALISON XAMON (North Metropolitan) [5.40 pm]: I rise to say a few things about a completely different issue and put on the record my concerns about the merger of the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority and LandCorp. My concerns have continued to grow over the course of this term, as I have watched a number of projects being undertaken by both those bodies. I have spoken numerous times in this place about LandCorp’s Montario Quarter development at the old Shenton Park Rehabilitation Hospital site. I have spoken quite a few times about that and I remain beyond disappointed that the decision was made to retain the building envelopes instead of enhancing and rehabilitating the ecological linkage. I still maintain that this site could have demonstrated environmental best practice and complied with both the bushfire policy and the bushland policy, which have effectively been thrown out the window.
Design for the site was undertaken with, unfortunately, very little concern for what the community and local government wanted. The community said at every stage that it wanted that bushland to be kept and enhanced, but it was consistently told that it was always the wrong time to consider that feedback or that it was too late, as apparently the design had already been done. As I have previously discussed, LandCorp had the option of going back again and again until it got from the Western Australian Planning Commission the decision it wanted and that it had been pushing for from the beginning. The community is now expected to just suck it up and live with it.
This contrasts with the consultation process that went into developing the Scarborough redevelopment masterplan by the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority. That consultation process started prior to the design and worked out what people valued in the area and what they needed and wanted, and then worked to create a vision for the area that supported the aspirations of that community; hence it has great ownership within that community and is very popular. Of course, we saw that that all went pear-shaped with the decision to allow the 3 Oceans towers. I note that that project is on hold and that 3 Oceans is talking about a redesign for the project. That is good; I am glad that it does not appear to be going ahead at the moment, and I certainly hope that the next attempt at this design will comply with all elements of the Scarborough redevelopment scheme and the Scarborough design guidelines.
I remain deeply concerned about the merger of these two bodies—one with a history of really shabby community consultation and the other that, unfortunately, has a history of approving projects that do not match what are otherwise very carefully constructed, considered and widely consulted planning documents. In the best-case scenario, we would hope that the merger of these two organisations might bring out the best in both of them, but, unfortunately, I am concerned that the opposite will occur. I have already been approached by constituents in Subiaco with concerns about how the consultation process for Subiaco East is progressing. For example, we have already seen that 1.75 hectares of sportsgrounds have disappeared from a plan that is intended to provide accommodation to many thousands of people in this area.
I have said this many times but I will put it on the record again: of course, infill is very important for the future of Perth, and the Greens are very supportive of this. We also need to ensure that we are providing for all aspects of our future. That means our public open space, our active space, our transport, schools and sports grounds. A lot of these resources in the western suburbs are already under intense pressure and more pressure is coming as much-needed infill starts occurring. I am concerned that rather than being a positive part of the solution, this merged body has the potential to embody the worst of the two organisations, the way things are going, with no recourse for the communities that it is supposed to serve. It is not meant to be a law unto itself; it is meant to work with and listen to those communities.
I continue to urge the government to seriously consider the issues that were raised and also the potential solutions that were identified in the green paper on planning system reform. I really hope that sooner rather than later we will see the government’s response to the recommendations that were made in this paper.