Snippy state cuts Perth out of the picture

No local council representatives from either the Victoria Park or Perth council side at the March 1 causeway sod turning. Photo via

THE City of Perth logo is to be stripped from signs advertising the construction of a new pedestrian bridge beside the causeway with lord mayor Basil Zempilas blaming increasing frostiness between the McGowan government and his council.

At the February 28 council meeting Mr Zempilas said the McGowan state government has shown an emerging pattern of “contempt” towards the council, excluding City of Perth representatives from key press events celebrating joint projects.

In the last year the state government has held a spate of good-news press conferences and photo shoots announcing landmark projects that are part of the Perth City Deal, a “tripartite” funding arrangement between local, state, and federal governments. 

Perth council hasn’t been invited to key events such as the 2022 announcement of a site for an Aboriginal Cultural Centre, last week’s sod turning ceremony at the ECU City site, and now the March 1 sod turning ceremony to start the Causeway bridge. 

The council didn’t have a direct hand in funding the cultural centre or ECU City projects, but Mr Zempilas says they’ve definitely pulled their weight for the Causeway bridge: “The City is a financial contributor to the CBD transport plan,” with the federal and state governments each contributing $72.5m and the council putting in $12m. 

Mr Zempilas also noted that of the state government’s contribution, $35.5m was from the Perth Parking Levy which the council heavily contributes to.

“And we’re told today that Main Roads has been requested to remove the City logo from the project signs already erected” around the Causeway bridge construction site. 

Transport minister Rita Saffioti was asked about the lack of local government presence at the sod-turning ceremony.

“We’ve got protocols in relation to events, whether they be sod-turning, and the protocols rest around funding contributions in normal cases, or where a city or council’s done more than its fair share in preparing for the project,” Ms Saffioti said.

But Mr Zempilas argues; “the City of Perth as a partner within the Perth City Deal should, according to the protocol that is attached to it, should be invited to all events.

“I want to be clear: It’s not about me or fellow elected members not being invited, that is hardly relevant or important,” Mr Zempilas said. 

“This is about the ratepayers of the City of Perth and the money they pay to enable these projects to happen being recognised for their financial contribution.”

There’s been a few public disagreements between the McGowan government and 

the Zempilas council lineup, with Mr Zempilas frustrated over the lack of state-provided homelessness services, and the state government’s anger over the council’s reluctance to help fund a pool at the WACA.

“A pattern seems to be emerging where there is a level of contempt for the City of Perth,” Mr Zempilas said. “And on behalf of the ratepayers of the City of Perth we note it, we don’t accept it, and we’ll continue to make sure that the city and its ratepayers are well represented and their contribution is well acknowledged.”


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