Monday, May 26, 2008

And now for the news...or not

Andrea is...venting

The Saturday West Australian newspaper is huge. I usually make the mistake of riding or walking to the newsagents to buy it, only to then be faced with the problem of getting it home. Today (Sunday) I treated myself to it and struggled to fold it in half to fit in my backpack as I rode back to the office.

The largest sections are employment (88 pages) and real estate (a whopping 120 pages, plus an extra magazine today). Then there is the travel mag, the ‘weekend’ mag, cars guide and an entertainment guide. Plus of course the main news/sports/classifieds section.

Although at least 50% of the News section (96 pages) is made up of advertising, it contains a fair bit of news from Perth, the Eastern States and the rest of the world too.

Upon arriving in WA last year I quickly found that the state has a bit of a complex about itself because it perceives that the “Eastern States” think it inferior. I always found it interesting that West Aussies over in the east are always making a point that they are West Aussies and trying to convince you of how great WA is, meanwhile choosing to live outside of WA. Now I think they are all fuming because they didn’t buy property here when it was a ‘cheap’ and far away place to live. Now it is on par with Sydney and Melbourne in terms of property prices and West Aussies can’t even afford to live here.

So, Perth felt isolated and alienated (its own fault) from the rest of the country. Yet up here in the Kimberley, you feel more alienated from the capital of your state than the rest of the country.

Taking the West Australian for example: Upon reading it, you could be forgiven for thinking that WA is made up of Perth and its sprawl to the south, and the rest is one big mining pit. Anything beyond this rarely gets a mention (Ok, so admittedly, according to the 2006 Census, 70% of WA’s population does live in Perth, but that's not the point)

WA’s ‘booming’ mining industry (of which it is intensely proud!) is frequently referred too, especially with respect to the cost of living and climbing population of Perth. The increasing wealth and fortune of the state is a huge ego boost (and cash boost for the Perth Foreshore-We-Want-A-Big-Wheel-Too! Development) despite the fact that the average person and ‘working families’ are actually suffering because of it. This is actually recognised today with a comparison between a child-free couple (originally from Victoria of course) who are making big money at the mines and own two houses and two boats, to a family in Perth’s northern suburbs who have to sell their kids’ toys to put food on the table (because the dad can’t work, and the mum works part-time). Of course they don’t represent the population (but this is the newspaper after all), but its good to see that it’s not only Today Tonight picking up on this.

So let’s examine this Saturday’s West Australian for evidence that people do in fact exist outside of Perth:

-“Petrol costs could stop 30pc driving”: “Up to 30% of WA motorists will ditch their cars if petrol stays over the $1.50 mark”.
Petrol is a record 151.3c per litre in Perth and people are upset and threatening to resort to using public transport (what is this world coming to??). Meanwhile, on the opposite page, in small font, a selection of regional ULP prices is listed.

And the cheapest is…155.93c in Bussleton. Bet they are still driving cars there.
Interestingly the Kimberley is not listed, but Port Hedland has a similar price of 172.6. And people are still driving their cars (by cars I mean 4WDs) because there aren’t many other options.

-Farmers want the government to build a new rabbit-proof style fence (to be wild dog, donkey, camel and emu proof) to protect crops and livestock, or to at least repair what is left of the original early 1900’s fence. Interestingly, the original fence which spanned from north of Port Hedland to the south-west coast was later shortened to only 1170km running from Shark Bay and renamed the ‘State Barrier Fence’. Guess the rabbits got through the other one and ruined its the name. Or is it just to protect Perth from the rest of the state???

-The next stage on the $500 million Perth-Bunbury Highway, which is really just turning Bunbury into another outer suburb of Perth if you ask me.

-WA crops could be crippled by a bee virus – mentions rural WA

-And Broome (we got a mention, yay!) has claimed the title of "WA’s drink driving capital". Oh. This article gives the top 10 “worst spots for drink driving” according to the number of people charged in each area. One location (ranked 10th) is a suburb of Perth. The other 9 are rural (4 in the Kimberley).

And that is it.

So is the rest of WA a drunken, pest ravaged, bee infected mining pit? Seems so.

And you know what really makes me mad?! Up here I have to pay 50% more for this newspaper to cover freight! And I can’t even buy the Saturday paper on Saturday! The weekend papers always a day behind despite the 3 incoming commercial flights per day from Perth. So I have to pay extra for a paper which, as it turns out, is not even relevant to me!

So I am no longer going to purchase the paper which should be called ‘The Perth-ian’, not “The West Australian’, and revert to reading Melbourne’s ‘The Age’ online for free.


Jayne said...

I don't blame you for ditching it!
Most of the capital newspapers ignore the rural news happenings.
Was going to suggest the ABC online news for all other-than-Perth-news items