There is still a long way to go in the bid process for Australia to host the World Cup, but for Western Australia to be a participant in the biggest sporting event in the World we are going to need politicians with more foresight.
It is understood that the powers that be in Tourism have already stated that Perth will not have enough hotel rooms to be a host city. In fact we do not currently have enough presidential suites when Perth has the honour of hosting the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting this year!
Rooms may be a problem now, but surely in 12 years they won’t be? As we are unlikely to win the 2018 bid. If the right people are involved plans can be put in place to increase rooms in Perth over the next 10 years, but then again things do take a while over here in the West.
More worrying is the lack of a stadium. The continued claptrap being spoken about a multi-purpose stadium is not an option even worth discussing; rectangular sports do not fit in oval stadia. This is again a government playing politics, trying to keep all sporting bodies happy.
The Premier Colin Barnett has stated, understandably, that the government must focus on a new hospital before a stadium. Yet once again an answer is very simple if you look longer term, rather than just your term in government and the next election.
The much-maligned Brian Burke had the vision to back the Western Australian Institute of Sport, even though his government would not always be in power to reap the accolades that our athletes won on behalf of the state.
Perth is blessed with several suitable venues for a purpose-built stadium, with public transport close by. Why doesn’t the Government lease some of this land for 99 years with an option to extend on the lease once the 99 years have lapsed and allow a private enterprise to come in and build the stadium?
The stadium must meet a set criteria, and the private company concerned would also be responsible for arranging the management of the venue. Sporting bodies managing sporting venues is not and very rarely will be the answer.
With such an option, private enterprise has a guarantee of longevity and the chance to recoup their investment within the 99 years. As they will need to ensure a quick return on their investment they will put in place professional stadium management, to run the venue.
Perth, or more importantly Western Australia would then have a world class purpose built stadium for rugby, football, conferences and concerts, which would in fact be making the government money, as there would be the lease fees for the next 99 years.
Surely this is a simple and obvious solution if we look long term rather than to the next election?