The City of South Perth has asked the state government to disclose whether it will fund its leisure and water features project.
The city currently has no public water facilities, but plans to build the RAF – an aquatic, fitness, recreation and wellness center for the city and area – in Collier Park, with the golf course as a backdrop.
The city has already approved $20 million for the project, received a $2-$3 million pledge from Curtin University and pledged a $20 million federal grant, and it hopes the state government is increasing that amount to cover the $80 million project.
However, it is uncertain whether the city will receive the federal grant.
City councils did not agree to a tender by Donald Cant Watts Corke Pty Ltd in June to undertake project management of the city’s RAF development, a required step of the federal funding agreement concluded in April 2019.
A report from the council said the city had been told it had breached the federal funding agreement, but was working with the Commonwealth to find a solution.
“The city remains very committed to the project and continues to work in partnership with the federal government,” said City of South Perth Mayor Greg Milner.
There was also no confirmation from the state government as to whether or not it will meet the federal government’s $20 million funding commitment.
The city presented a formal funding proposal – also known as a Treasury Business Case – to then Sports and Leisure Minister Tony Buti almost a year ago, in October 2021, with Mr Buti acknowledging receipt, but no response has been received.
The continued radio silence prompted Cr Mary Choy to move at last Tuesday’s meeting that South Perth CEO Michael Bradford send separate letters to Sport and Recreation Minister David Templeman, South Perth Member Geoff Baker and the Treasury of Washington asking for feedback on the RAF project writes within a month.
A meeting between Mr Bradford and Mr Templeman, pictured, last Wednesday failed to secure government funding.
“We continue to work with the City and Commonwealth Government on the project and funding options,” said Mr. Templeman.
Mr Bradford will now write a letter to Mr Templeman on behalf of the Council asking for government financial support for the RAF project and a reply preferably within a month. He will also ask why Mr. Templeman has not responded to the city’s formal funding proposal for the project.
Mr Bradford will also ask Mr Baker why government funding for the project has not been “preferred” to date and whether he has supported it.
He was also asked to respond within a month if possible.
Mr Bradford will also write to the Treasury Department for a review of the project’s cost of construction, operating expenses, cash flow assumptions, revenue projections and cost-benefit analysts. The city has asked for a response within a month if possible.
Mr Bradford told council the motion was “not necessary” and he didn’t think it would be helpful.
“It is understood that the council may not receive any replies from relevant state MPs, but the view is that there is no harm in asking,” Cr Choy said.
“Despite all these efforts and attempts to date to secure state government support for the RAF project, the Council has not received any further information on state support or otherwise.”
Council members who voted in favor of Cr Choy’s motion — including Andre Brender-A-Brandis, Blake D’Souza, Ken Manolas and Jennifer Nevard — also voted against appointing an independent project manager to secure federal funding for the project. “The council needs financial clarity on whether or not the state government supports the RAF – the city has been approaching the state government for four years and so far have had no success,” Cr Manolas said.
Cr Glenn Cridland said Cr Choy’s application was an “absolute failure of good governance” while George Watts of Karawara at a previous briefing called on Cr Choy to withdraw her application to give the city council the best chance of securing government funding commitments the RAF.
“The state government is obviously critical to the success of the project and what everyone should be aware of – they are working at their own pace and agenda,” Mr Watts said.
South Perth resident Adrian McDonald said Cr Choy’s request was “inappropriate and unnecessary”, while Salter Point resident Cindy Bateman said the move was “commanding in nature” and “borderline on disrespect” towards Mr Bradford.
“It is a counterproductive approach that undermines the progress made to date by the Chief Executive and the state government’s commitment to potential funding commitments for the RAF,” Ms Bateman said.
Cr Stephen Russell said the “wheels of state bureaucracy and indeed politics” must turn, albeit slowly, towards a decision “without pseudo-mandates from the Council”.
“This motion has a number of mandates and I see no practical value in it,” he said.
Mr Milner said the request had the potential to damage the city’s relationship with the state government.
“This motion asks the state government to implement certain specific measures according to a timetable that we have established,” he said.
Cr Choy said the demands of her application were “reasonable and necessary for clarity, transparency and accountability” to the South Perth community.
https://www.perthnow.com.au/local-news/city-of-south-perth-gives-state-government-deadline-to-reveal-if-it-will-fund-recreation-facility-c-8298782 The City of South Perth is giving the state government a deadline to announce whether it will fund a recreation facility