WMC looks to make a move

A FOCUS on cost cutting initiatives has forced Western Mining Corporation to consider a move out of the central business district.

WMC is currently considering a move whereby it would relocate to premises in Belmont on the Great Eastern Highway, according to group manager corporate affairs Peter Clough.

“We’ve told staff that we are considering a move to Belmont, but at this stage no decision has been made,” Mr Clough said.

The key driver for the decision is a push to save money, but it’s a major shift for the company and its staff.

WMC currently inhabits the top five storeys of the QV1 building and it’s understood it is in discussions with QV1 management regarding the lease.

WMC is currently committed to a lease that runs through until 2004.

A move out of the city for WMC would deliver considerable cost savings for the organisation, however the psychological effect of a move out to Belmont is difficult to quantify.

Businesses that chose to move just beyond the city centre to the fringes of the CBD often recount how difficult it is to overcome the psychological impact of working away from the heart of the CBD.

For a number of major corporations the location of the State head office on St Georges Terrace is central to the company’s brand or image.

There’s an element of kudos associated with a central city location and premium office space. Some organisations maintain their capacity to attract investment and top-notch clients is closely tied to their presence in the financial hub of the city.

Several big city operations have opted to move out of the CBD to fringe city locations, including Hatch and SGIO. More recently, the RAC has announced it was looking at options outside of the CBD.

Property Council WA chief executive Joe Lenzo said there were certain professional services that relied on the interaction delivered by a city location.

“There are synergies about working in that environment where you can meet other people,” Mr Lenzo said.

“The RAC require certain elements, including car parking and easy vehicle access, which is found on the fringe of the CBD.

“There are different reasons why people chose a St Georges Terrace address, but if you’re a service provider to the public there’s no reason to be in the centre of the city.”

WMC claims the focus on cost cutting has prompted its discussions on moving out of the CBD.

WMC had a difficult 2001 as a result of depressed commodity prices and the effect of a fire at the Olympic Dam operation.

Following a takeover approach by Alcoa, WMC has decided to demerge the company into two separate and independently listed entities.

QV1 management refused to make any comment on the matter and directed all enquiries to WMC.


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