Govt drags feet on Housing Dept move

At a recent Legislative Council meeting, South Metropolitan Region member Lynn MacLaren addressed minister Peter Collier, acting on behalf of Finance Minister Bill Marmion, asking him whether the government was still considering a Department of Housing move into Fremantle and at what point a decision would be made.

Mr Collier replied that a decision was expected this year.

�Options for decentralising government agencies, including the Department of Housing to Fremantle, are expected to be considered by the government in mid to late 2015,� he said. �Any relocation and its timing will be subject to a value-for-money option being identified and approved.�

Ms MacLaren said she shared the wish of many residents to see Fremantle�s business district become more economically vibrant.

�We need more people both living and working in Fremantle to enable this and the relocating of a state government agency to central Fremantle is a great way to do this,� she said.

�I feel we are due for an update on this issue from the government, especially given the relevance to the strategic planning that the City of Fremantle has been doing recently.

�It is disappointing that nearly three years after the relocation announcement was made, we still have no certainty and I hope that when the government assesses the relocation this year, it considers what will deliver value in the longer term, not just in terms of rent but for economic growth for the greater metropolitan area, including Fremantle.�

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt, who has supported the move since its announcement, said recent discussions had been positive.

�The City hopes to have a decision in a few months time,� he said.

�A major State Government department moving 1000 plus people to Fremantle would be a huge boost for the city as a vibrant seven-day-a-week economy,� he said.

�This is why the City continues to support this project despite the frustratingly long timeline to get to a decision point.�