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Dylan Caporn: WA has cash and enthusiasm in abundance —Let’s harness both

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Dylan CapornThe West Australian
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The State is currently brimming with two things — a mega-surplus and ideas. Government, business, and all of us need to grasp both to turn this into a vision for Perth and WA. 
Camera IconThe State is currently brimming with two things — a mega-surplus and ideas. Government, business, and all of us need to grasp both to turn this into a vision for Perth and WA.  Credit: Michael Evans/Michael Evans - stock.adobe.com

What are your plans for Monday, June 4, 2029?

If you’ve got something in your diary — and congratulations on forward planning — cancel it.

That first Monday in June in five years — WA Day for those who celebrate — will mark Perth’s bicentenary.

We’re now in the countdown for one of the biggest celebrations our city will recognise — 200 years since Perth was founded.

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The moment should serve as a turning point for Perth and everyone in our community should be preparing now.

What big things does our city need as we enter our third century?

In 2017, then-premier Mark McGowan said he expected the moment should be preceded by a “high level of community consultation”.

Recent debate around Perth’s “Dullsville” tag, followed by the conveniently timed upgrade proposal for the convention centre, represents the launch pad for such discussions.

Already planned by the State Government is an Aboriginal cultural centre, which the State Government has put an opening date of 2029 on.

Such a centre would allow WA the navigate the careful path of recognising 200 years of Perth’s history, while also acknowledging the tens of thousands of years of First Nations’ culture that existed before the British arrival.

But designs, plans, timelines or budgets are yet to be presented to the people of WA, as the State Government works through the idea with a Noongar consultation group. That’s important, but each day that passes is a missed opportunity for engagement on this project and others.

Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas last Friday resurrected the oft-suggested cable car from King’s Park to Elizabeth Quay.

Will Perth Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas put up his hand?
Camera IconLord Mayor Basil Zempilas last Friday resurrected the oft-suggested cable car from King’s Park to Elizabeth Quay.  Credit: TheWest

Sweeping views over the Swan River would offer plenty for tourism brochures, and it seems as if the project would require less time and money to build.

And while we’re at it — let’s run more ferries across the river too, connecting suburbs and icons.

Perhaps we even need a Korean-style reunification monument over the Narrows, to put the north versus south divide behind us after 2029.

Perth’s Cultural Centre, dominated by the impressive WA Museum, could have a major shot in the arm with upgrades to the State Library and the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts.

And it’s not just our capital city.

The year also marks the start of a run of bicentenaries. Fremantle and Guildford also turn 200 in 2029, while Augusta (2030), Mandurah, (2031), Busselton (2032), Northam (2033), York (2035) and Bunbury (2036) all celebrate bicentenaries in the following years.

All should recognise the milestone with a local project.

The State is currently brimming with two things — a mega-surplus and ideas.

Government, business, and all of us need to grasp both to turn this into a vision for Perth and WA.

Dull? Not even close. We’re just getting started.

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