Brad Pettitt

Self-professed “sustainability nerd” and Western Australian Greens politician Dr Brad Pettitt, will launch a draft of his long-awaited report, Climate Positive Perth, on Thursday this week – and he’s seeking input from the community.

As former Mayor of the City of Fremantle, The Fifth Estate has  often featured  Pettitt on his vision for a thriving and sustainable community and he’s been a guest on our podcast How to Build a Better World

Now, as MLC in WA, he’s turned his attention a broader agenda.

His report, previously known as Net Zero Perth, is an update on how Perth can solve long-standing planning, transport and energy issues that affect liveability at the metro, neighbourhood, and household scale.

It  aims to set out evidence-based pathways on how the city can respond to the climate crisis by becoming low-carbon, liveable, and connected, in ways that are inspired by former Western Australia Senator Scott Ludlam’s Perth 2.0 project.

The launch will serve as a platform for Pettitt to receive feedback on the report ahead of the final version, which is due for release in 2024.

The draft report claims input from dozens of WA and Australian academics, graduate researchers, subject matter experts, industry groups and First Nations elders and representatives.

A key recommendation from the report is to end urban spraw for good by introducing a “growth boundary” – a concept preventing major developments outside of a designated limit.

“Every house on the urban fringe costs about $90,000 more to put out there [on the fringes], in terms of infrastructure, than a house that’s quite close to the centre,” Pettitt told The Age.

“We’ve got to actually create and reimagine our city in a way that could be much better, much more liveable, much more connected, but also net-zero.”

As part of the report Pettitt has set some ambitious targets for the Cook state government, which includes committing to 95 per cent renewable energy generation within the decade.

He also wants Perth to ban gas connections to homes, introducing light rail and trackless trams and divert 20 per cent of its multi-billion-dollar transport infrastructure budget into cycling and walking projects.

“Perth is the longest city in the world, and it’s got to stop growing north and south.

“We are already so far north now so somewhere north of Two Rocks has got to be it, otherwise it’s going to become South Geraldton and North Bunbury.”

WA Planning Minister John Carey argues that the government was already working on transit-oriented development and boosting density, which includes investments into the new Metronet stations.

The report also recommends planting more trees in yards to combat Perth’s status as the sparsest tree canopy of any capital city, which leads to hot weather and heat island effect.

“52% of people and about 72% of emissions are associated with cities. So, if you get cities right, we actually solve a whole lot of problems.”

 Pettitt also told another podcast that “52 per cent of people and about 72 per cent of emissions are associated with cities. So, if you get cities right, we solve many problems.

“Getting carbon emissions down to zero is really important, so energy is a key part of it, but it’s also about built form and how we planned the nature of our city.

“You could have a net-zero city that continued to sprawl and just relied on electric cars and renewable energy, but that’s not a very liveable city. It’s also about liveability and rethinking the urban form,” Pettitt added.

“We hear a lot about net zero by 2050. That’s good, but it does not match what the science says we need to do. So, how can we speed that up but do that in a way that inspires?”

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