PERTH needs more people, Perth lord mayor Basil Zempilas says, and he’s called for an investigation into what’s keeping residents out and how to bring them in.
There could be juicy bonuses for developers to lure them into building in the CBD instead of on the outskirts of Perth, with Mr Zempilas foreshadowing “incentives for increased residential development”.
A bit over 30,000 people live in Perth council’s boundaries, while about 200,000 work there (depending on how Covid-y conditions are). That means after business hours the streets can be pretty desolate on a weeknight, and with some office workers stationed at home during the pandemic daytime businesses like cafes and retail are struggling.
Mr Zempilas said at the July 26 council meeting: “Residential population growth is going to be one of the cornerstones of building our liveable, sustainable and prosperous city.
“More people living in the city is going to bring life to the city. People bring people in. It improves vibrancy, provides greater support for local businesses, especially at night and on the weekends.
“The City can influence residential population growth through a number of mechanisms,” he said, suggesting more social and community infrastructure, events and marketing, and incentives for developers.
“We need to tap into the residential development and property sectors to hear firsthand why they would or would not develop in the city, what the issues or impediments are that are holding some back, and what it would take to convince them to redirect their intention and resources from other areas and focus instead on our city.”
The council endorsed his plan, effectively putting a democratically elected seal of approval on a sentiment that was initially raised by state government-appointed commissioners back in 2019 when they set a target for 90,000 residents by 2050.
That’s still bigger than the state government target of 53,000 by 2050, and Mr Zempilas says part of the job will be to convince the state to get on board and offer its own incentives for more residential development.
“We know more can be done and the City of Perth can’t do it all alone,” he said, but reckoned the McGowan government had sounded pretty keen on a bigger Perth population.
His motion requests the council staff come back with incentives and initiatives they could enact in time for next financial year.
by DAVID BELL