Ad gives flicker of hope

Myers Building, a possible home for the department.
Myers Building, a possible home for the department.

The Department of Finance lodged the ad last week, calling for expressions of interest to provide office accommodation in Fremantle that was no further than 600m from the train station, had up to 20,000sq m of space available and would be available by the middle of 2019.

In July 2012, then finance minister Simon O�Brien announced the Department of Housing would be moved to Fremantle but since then, continued queries from the City of Fremantle and local politicians for a firmer commitment and a timeline have been stonewalled.

However, the ad is not confirmation a move will eventuate, with Finance Minister Bill Marmion saying they would remain focused on having a presence in Fremantle if it meant value for money.

�Changes to the state�s financial position and the softening of the Perth property market have made it even more important that decisions are made on sound economic grounds, which can be assessed through a competitive expression of interest (EOI) processes,� he said.

The EOI is the first stage of a potential two-staged procurement process and its outcomes will be presented to government for further consideration prior to proceeding to the next stage � a restricted request for proposal.

�We are looking to the market to demonstrate that better value for money outcomes are achievable.�

Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt said he was pleased to see a step forward after years of discussion.

�It would result in over 1000 extra workers in Fremantle every day which would be a much needed shot in the arm for the local economy,� he said.

Fremantle MLA Simone McGurk said she had fought hard for this development and it was crucial for the revitalisation of the Fremantle CBD.