09/09/2003 - 22:00

Midland appeal likely

09/09/2003 - 22:00


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THE State Government has rejected plans to build a $350 million international theme park, motor racing circuit and hotel on the 70-hectare site at the old railway workshops in central Midland.

Midland appeal likely

Proponents of the development, Rothgard Midland Developments, had estimated that the project would create 5000 jobs and attract V8 Super-car and motorcycle events, injecting millions into the State’s economy.

The private consortium is currently in discussions with the Midland business community and is considering an appeal against the decision.

Rothgard managing director Ron Brown declined to comment while the group was preparing a response to the decision.

WA Business News understands that at least three States on the east coast are vying to attract the project.

Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the site Rothgard had selected, near the railway workshops heritage buildings, was inappropriate for such a development, and was unfunded.

“Cabinet considered that the project was incompatible with the Midland Redevelopment Authority’s (MRA) plans for the Midland central redevelopment area,” she said. “Those plans have already been endorsed by the community through extensive consultation.”

Ms MacTiernan said the Rothgard proposal would have posed a significant security and operational risks for the Police Operations Support Facility (OSF) in Midland.

“Of significant concern would be the ability to directly view OSF operations from the high structures in the proposed development,” she said.

City of Swan spokesman Charlie Gregorini said that, while the Rothgard proposal sounded impressive, the State Government’s plan was just as big or bigger in terms of employment and investment opportunities as the Rothgard proposal, and had been strongly supported by the community through public consultation.

“The State’s decision took into account all issues including amenity and security and seems comprehensive enough to make a sound decision,” he said.

Swan Chamber of Commerce vice-president Eddie Peters said the Rothgard proposal had received strong community support in Midland with around 3800 people signing petitions supporting the development.

Mr Peters said the minister had incorrectly stated that the project was unfunded.

“It is totally privately funded; not one single cent of government money is required,” he told WA Business News.

Mr Peters said he believed the Government had not taken the proposal seriously and that there would be a community backlash.

“The Government needs to ask itself three questions. Do we want a $350 million development for WA?  Do we want 5,000 jobs? And do we want to be a destination on the international motor racing map?”

Mr Peters said the proposal included a 60,000-seat rugby and soccer stadium that could house Telstra Rally Australia, the Hopman Cup and V8 Supercars.

“It has got to be on this site. It is seven kilometres to the international airport, is still in the city and is right on bus and rail links,” he said.

Ms MacTiernan said the Department of Planning and Infrastructure had offered to assist in pursuing the project at a different site.


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