WA Chapter President’s Message

Peter Hobbs, WA Chapter President

The time we shake off the cold months and bask in the glorious Perth weather: a time for optimism and re-growth.

We are all feeling unbelievably lucky as we view the rest of the world from our splendid isolation. Colleagues tell me that work is picking up; they are employing. This is the busiest we’ve all been for some time. While much of the government’s stimulus has been steered toward either infrastructure or the cottage market, enough has flowed towards regional, educational and local authorities to have made a considerable difference. The inevitable debate has started about opening up the borders, and the deep vein of WA successionist thinking has raised its head; perhaps more in jest than with any serious intent. Since Covid may go on for some time, the emphasis must be on learning to live with it in a nuanced and careful way.

This Saturday sees the City of Perth election, and it is great that several architects are putting their hands up to provide real expertise in Council settings. Chapter Councillor Sandy Angie is in the running for the top job, the Lord Mayor of Perth. By just having Sandy stand has brought attention to our profession, and we wish her the best of luck.

Whoever does win this role must quickly establish a strong and clear vision for the city and recognise it as the Capital City of WA rather than just the CBD. Perth must become more mixed use, and that’s not just more residential, but includes every other amenity that makes great cities.

Areas of focus include:

  • All levels of education- primary, secondary and tertiary.
  • Places for an increased population to recreate.
  • Potential re-development opportunity of the large Royal Perth land holdings into a medical precinct, with some areas reserved for housing.
  • Homelessness must be tackled- this is not a law and order issue but one inclusiveness and compassion. The City of Perth would be ideally placed to build and run drop in shelters and short-term crisis accommodation.
  • Potential CAT bus system expansion to Subiaco, West Leederville and Mount Lawley.
  • And learning from Hobart and understanding how MONA has transformed that city, imagine the new Indigenous Museum that combines the great collections of art and artefacts held in private and public collections – what a place that would be!