Government’s are put in place to represent and look after its citizens best interests. We’ve recently past the state and federal elections where we were bombarded with promises of what they will do for us. As a West Australian, on a state level (I’m not even going to touch the federal at the moment…) i find myself asking ‘why’ too often.
A decision I ask myself about is the half a billion dollar Perth Arena. It’s construction lasted over 5 years and was originally budgeted at 160 million, which is what the pitch was to tax payers – yet it ended up costing around 550 million. Sorry about that citizens, we’re a little short, do you mind chipping in a bit more? (if only we had a choice…) That’s one hell of a price tag for a stadium with a pitiful capacity of only 15,000 – i can hardly wait til the day Australia hosts the soccer World Cup – 15,000 seats wont do much but hold the teams entourage, with the 2010 World Cup’s average attendance a hair under 50,000!
Now on the other hand our state’s leader Colin Barnett has so far declined to sign up to the Commonwealth’s Gonski school funding scheme. This not only means that our school children (also known as our future) will get less than the other states, but also that our schools will have funding’s cut and are currently being told that they will have to use their reserve funds for the immediate future.
Turns out Mr. Barnett knows how to hold out until he gets a great bargain! Instead of accepting the Gonski scheme, which would have seen our schools receive $590m over six years ($98m per year), he’s accepted a $120m offer (over four years!) which works out to be $30m per year. Way to go Colin!
WA’s current big ticket item is it’s 2.6 billion dollar waterfront redevelopment, otherwise known as Elizabeth Quay. Needless to say, I’m holding my breathe as to it’s real cost and delivery time frame. People visit Western Australia from all over the world for our natural beauty, simplicity, relaxed lifestyle and pristine beaches – yet Colin Barnett describes the Perth Arena as WA’s Sydney Opera House and it’s official website headline reads “Perth Arena | Australia’s finest venue”… They seriously have to be joking if they think people are going to come to Perth for the Arena rather than the Sydney Opera House. Its just ludicrous that we’re spending all our money on trying to be a second rate Sydney or Melbourne, rather than concentrating on our own strengths as i outlined above.
And just to rub it in, WA has been going through a major BOOM with the mining and resources industries literally making us rich – but you need to ask yourself – what have WE got from it?