Uncertainty leaves Freo in limbo

Mr McNeilly made the comments after Finance Minister Dean Nalder told Parliament last week that the department might not move to Fremantle following a decision not to move the Department of Commerce to Stirling.

Mr Nalder said a move would be subject to individual analysis.

Mr McNeilly said Sirona Capital was one of four respondents to the expression of interest process to move the Department of Housing to the old Myer building and that as far as he knew, the process had yet to be concluded.

‘Our discussions with the State Government and the Department of Housing to date have been positive and we look forward to those discussions continuing,’ Mr McNeilly said. ‘Until then, Sirona will continue to develop its plans for Kings Square Fremantle in partnership with the City and advocate the benefits of this important redevelopment.

‘The success of the Kings Square Project in Fremantle doesn’t hinge on one particular tenant and although we would be pleased if the Department of Housing signed up as a tenant, we do have a number of options if this was not the case.’

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said the City remained confident of the commitment to move the department to Fremantle.

‘While not a showstopper, a decision by the State Government to renege on this commitment has the potential to significantly delay the $220m Kings Square Project, which is a key component of the City’s broader revitalisation strategy,’ he said.

Fremantle MLA Simone McGurk, who met Labor leader Mark McGowan in Fremantle on Friday to discuss the issue, said that losing the 1000 employees that a Department of Housing move would bring to Fremantle would be hard on the city.

‘Bringing the Department and its employees to Fremantle is a key plank of the revitalisation of the city centre,’ she said.

Mr Nalder said the government would continue to support the de-centralisation of its departments.