Two prominent West Australians have called on politicians to renew focus on building a major city in the North West.
Speaking to Seven’s new panel show Flashpointlast week, former foreign minister Julie Bishop said a city closer to key trading partners would help showcase WA.
“Perth is one of the most liveable cities on the planet but wouldn’t it be great if we had large population centres elsewhere in our State,” she said.
“For example, up north, so we could have a world-class city close to our South-East Asian neighbours.”
WA builder Dale Alcock voiced his support for the idea. He said Karratha would be the best choice to establish a major North West city.
“One of the things I think needs to change is our reliance on fly-in, fly-out to get population stable in these areas,” he said.
“I don’t think that is something the State (Government) alone can deal with.
“I think it needs Federal assistance with that to provide tax incentives and so-forth for young families to establish themselves there.”
WA Premier Mark McGowan said policymakers needed to focus on jobs before trying to boost population.
“They are terrific communities — Karratha, Hedland, Broome, Kununurra, Carnarvon and Geraldton,” he said.
“They are not as big as the Queensland coastal cities but on the other hand it is great they are substantial towns now. You have to always make sure you have the jobs available for people to live there.”
A City of Karratha spokeswoman said the council had been actively promoting the area as an attractive place to live and work with significant investment opportunities, including through its membership of the Regional Capitals Alliance.
“Karratha supports some of the world’s largest resources projects and has high-standard facilities and services so it makes sense to strengthen Karratha’s position as the regional capital of the North West,” she said.
“There is a certainty around our future, a growing, more diverse economic base and a large number of employment options available.”
Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel said the Pilbara was a wonderful place to live and work in and was a huge contributor to the WA economy through a range of industries.