The West

A gateway to Asia must have a map
Grand vision: Committee for Perth chief Marion Fulker says it is time to define the Perth of the future. Picture: Michael Wilson

Marion Fulker's message to decision makers is simple: tackle the challenges facing Perth or the city "will be a victim of growth and not a beneficiary of it".

As the head of one of Perth's most influential advocacy groups with membership comprising corporate playmakers such as Rio Tinto, Wesfarmers and Woodside, Ms Fulker has spent six years at the forefront of the debate over how Perth should evolve.

But, on the eve of the release of its "most significant report" yet, the Committee for Perth chief executive said yesterday that the time for conversation was over.

"We could cement ourselves as the Asian gateway, but we've actually got to have a plan to do that," she said. "It's not going to happen serendipitously.

"The naysayers, they want to keep Perth as it is but it can't, not with 1000 people a week coming to WA.

"It can't remain the same, so we may as well be mature and have a conversation about, well, what is it going to be?"

Ms Fulker listed local government reform, affordable housing, a long-term transport plan that took into account land use and "nailing our colours to the mast" in the housing density debate as "conversations we've been reluctant to have".

However, when asked about a lack of solutions in the report, she said it was not a "doing" organisation but a catalyst for raising discussion and debate.

Ms Fulker said governments of both persuasions were guilty of a project-based approach to planning Perth.

"It's been about building hospitals, the waterfront, putting in rail lines," she said.

"They've done some things that certainly help build the city and the metropolitan area, but we're still without that clarity of purpose."

Ms Fulker said she hoped the report could be a "turning point" where government, business and the community embarked on a shared vision.

If they did, she said, Perth's growth period could be its most defining.

The West Australian

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