COMMUNITY and heritage groups are crying foul after the WA government moved further ahead with a planned sale of the East Perth power station without their input.
Last week developers were invited to submit expressions of interest for the 8.5-hectare heritage-listed site with neither the National Trust nor the Banks precinct action group consulted.
“This is somewhat disappointing as it was the NT who brought recent private sector interest to the Metropolitan Regional Authority and encouraged them to pursue such interest where prior to that, the power station had not been a priority,” Trust CEO Tom Perrigo complained.
Since the government announced in October the station would be sold, The Banks precinct has been campaigning for the heritage-listed building to become a community asset. “There has been no contact from the state government,” co-chair Caroline Cohen says. “We will be holding a Banks precinct meeting this week and initiate contact with the MRA.”
MRA media manager Vanessa Toncich says public consultation is planned, “following the EOI period”.
Mr Perrigo is sceptical: “History suggests decisions are made within government including heritage matters and then it becomes more about information-sharing than engagement,” he says. “One would have hoped the brief could have been circulated for input, however, now that a public decision has been made, one would hope the brief put out by government including all the conditions is made completely transparent and put onto the MRA’s web page if it hasn’t been already.”
The power station, located on the banks of the Swan River, is one of 20 assets to be sold by the government to reduce WA’s staggering $21 billion debt.
by STEPHEN POLLOCK