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Government turns its back on CBD region

THE State Government is neglecting the interests of Perth’s CBD region, placing jobs and small businesses at risk.

A series of decisions by Labor has demonstrated a disregard for the needs of the CBD region, which is the economic, social and cultural heart of Perth.

An early decision was to abandon stage two of the $24.5 million Barrack Square Redevelopment.

The Government refused to allow an extension to a funding deadline for the development of the Convention Centre, at one stage placing doubt over the future of the multi-million dollar development.

Recently, the Government increased a fee on Perth car parking bays by 71 per cent – placing yet more tax on the overburdened property sector.

This was despite warnings from the Property Council back in March on its adverse consequences.

This outrageous tax grab, to raise $2.5 million from property owners, will harm CBD retailers and commercial businesses.

Ironically, the tax will encourage businesses to move from the CBD, reducing the attractiveness of public transport, which it supposedly seeks to encourage. Meanwhile, the Government is falling over itself to spend money on outer regional areas.

The Premier has said: “Policy initiatives which had the potential to benefit the regions would be placed at the top of the Government’s legislative and reform program”. And they have. Money is being spent on regional airports ($2 million), regional videoconference facilities ($1 million), Internet access for regional towns, and community TV for the regions, to name a few ‘regional’ initiatives. Further, Cabinet approved a $75 million Regional Investment Fund in early June.

Although regional investment is important, the role of Government is to ensure a balanced approach to the expenditure of scarce financial resources.

Perth harnesses the flow of people, ideas, goods and funds connecting the State to regional, national and international markets. The figures are clear – central Perth generates $4.4 billion in wages for 96,000 workers, it receives three million visitors each year and has more than 5900 commercial establishments.

The Government must encourage investment in central Perth to develop our economy, not impede it.

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