Perth City Deal to create a CBD population drawcard

Perth has unmatched potential to evolve as a centre of excellence for education, tourism, technology and remote operations, Property Council WA Executive Director Sandra Brewer said.

Ms Brewer, who moderated a panel with representatives of each of the three tiers of government on Friday, said it was pleasing to see the positive way all three tiers of government were working to encourage people to live and work in the city.

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister Ben Morton, representing Federal Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Minister, Alan Tudge, told the Reinventing the Perth CBD lunch that a City Deal for the Perth CBD, with “nuanced” Australian population policy could ease pressure on east coast infrastructure. 

“A Perth City Deal focuses on the city centre, creates an energised CBD … through higher population density providing an economic boost to the city,” Mr Morton said, “There’s a real opportunity to bring more people into the Perth CBD and demonstrate how to maintain liveability in a more densely populated area.”

Mr Morton said the Federal Government wanted to make sure that population grew in places more people were welcome, adding that Perth had an enormous amount of day-time infrastructure that could be leveraged to maximise night and weekend economies.

State Minister for Transport and Planning Rita Saffioti said people were the critical ingredient for a thriving CBD. The State Government had finalised tenders for a zipline and Matagarup Bridge walk in the Optus Stadium precinct, was scoping an aquatic centre at the WACA with the City of Perth and was talking to universities about a CBD university campus, designed to stimulate economic activity and attract residents to the CBD.

“People are the key ingredient to change and re-energise our city,” Ms Saffioti said. “We need more people living, eating, working and playing in our city.”

City of Perth Commissioner Andrew Hammond said a City Deal including a university campus could prove the catalyst for a CBD population of 90,000 by 2050. “If ever we needed a City Deal it’s now,” Commissioner Hammond said.

Property Council WA commissioned placemaking consultancy Urbis to create a blueprint, Project 90K, with a five-part pathway to enhance services, connectivity, branding, governance and focus on the CBD.

Project 90K outlines the number of schools, playgrounds and other infrastructure necessary to support and thriving CBD population of 90,000.

Ms Saffioti said the State Government had started identifying future CBD primary and high school sites admitting it was “odd” this planning, routine for other suburbs, was new for the CBD.

Ms Brewer said sites for CBD schools should be set aside now; acts, laws and policy that impede micro-mobility revolution in Perth should be revised and the City of Perth should have an annual priority initiatives list to align agencies and business.

Property Council WA played a significant role in persuading the City of Perth to increase its residential population target from 40,000 by 2036 to 90,000 by 2050, Ms Brewer said.

“We know wider Perth is in the middle of a transformative transport and planning project in Metronet but we also know that at its core the Perth CBD has sometimes struggled to shake off its dependence on mining and resources,” Ms Brewer said.

“We want to get everybody talking about how we can make our CBD more diverse, sustainable and economically robust.

“If we’re going to have 90,000 people living in the very centre of Perth, we need to plan now for new play spaces, extra childcare places, an aquatic and recreational centre and another library. We need supermarkets, shops and services.

“We need the right infrastructure to ensure the city is an attractive place for families to live and residents have the services they need through every life stage.

“We need to build on inner-city education and health precincts, technological excellence, a thriving start-up sector and our lively cultural district to make our CBD more desirable for residents.

“We want to inspire new economically productive ideas.”