Up to 10,000 jobs including thousands of construction jobs will be created in Perth under a $1.5 billion agreement which will see new university campuses brought into the city along with the funding of works on public infrastructure and social and cultural facilities.

The Commonwealth Government, State Government and City of Perth have finalised the Perth City Deal, which will create a formal partnership between the three levels of government and will define priorities, actions, timeframes and accountabilities for achieving long-term objectives.

The focal point of the deal involves a commitment of almost $1 billion to build new university campuses to enable more than 25,000 university students and staff to be brought into the CBD.

Under this plan, the Commonwealth Government, WA Government and Edith Cowan University (artists impression pictured above) will commit to a $695 million plan for the university move its business and law schools along with its world class Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts into the CBD.

This will create the state’s first inner-city university campus with more than 9,200 students and staff to attend.

A further part of the plan involves a $360 million commitment from the WA Government, Curtain University and Murdoch University to establish a new presence in the Perth CBD.

Under that plan, Murdock University will create a vertical campus that will include partnerships with STEM, other higher education providers and an eSports Stadium which is linked with Singapore and Asia.

The campus will also include a digital futures academy, and Aboriginal CBD Centre, professional development and cultural activities.

Curtin University will develop an east end ‘historical heart’ development, building on their existing CBD campus and will establish a knowledge and innovation precinct in the CBD.

All up, these investments will create up to 4,100 jobs during construction and almost 1,000 direct ongoing jobs.

Other funding commitments include:

  • $105 million toward the Perth Greater CBD Transport Plan to upgrade cycling and walking infrastructure and bus stop accessibility as well as to enhance Roe Street. The centrepiece of this plan is the new Swan River Causeway Bridge.
  • $20 million to upgrade the Perth Cultural Centre precinct through immediate improvements in lighting, security, wayfinding and environmental sustainability and the development of a longer-term vision for the space as destination for visitors to the city.
  • $42 million to develop the Perth Concert Hall into a world-class music venue.
  • Up to $100 million to redevelop the WACA and transform it into a state-of-the-art sporting facility including an inner city swimming pool
  • $20 million for the East Perth Power Station to upgrade necessary infrastructure and improve connectivity to the site and surrounding areas while plans for redevelopment and preservation of the historic buildings and heritage progress.
  • $36 million to provide facilities, safety improvements and services for homeless people in the city.
  • $18 million for the creation of an Australian Space Robotics, Automation, and AI Command Control Complex to encourage start-ups, small businesses, and researchers supporting the development and operation of robotic and remote asset management activities in space.
  • $10 million towards a WA Indigenous Business and Employment Hub in partnership with the Wirrpanda Foundation to provide support and advice to Indigenous businesses, job seekers and entrepreneurs.
  • $4 million of funding to undertake a pre-feasibility study for an Aboriginal Cultural Centre to be located in Perth on the traditional lands of the Wadjuk Noongar people.

For Perth, the deal comes at an important time as the city moves to reinvigorate its economy in the wake of COVID-19.

The City has also been impacted by extensive corporate governance issues which were outlined in a damning report last month and which saw the Council suspended in 2018.

Elections for a new council Mayor and councillors will be held next month.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison welcomed the deal.

“This is a JobMaker investment which will generate employment for thousands of hard-working West Australians, it will boost those businesses that are already in the CBD and it will drive new businesses to open,” he said.

“WA, like the rest of Australia, needs a targeted economic stimulus which will provide a boost now and into the future, and this is what we’re delivering.”

WA Premier Mark McGowan said the deal will see more than $1.5 billion worth of investment into the Perth CBD unlocking thousands of local jobs and creating flow on economic benefits for small businesses.

“This City Deal has given us the unique opportunity to collaborate with the Commonwealth Government, universities and local businesses to help re-energise our capital city,” McGowan said.

“We have worked to establish up to three university campuses in our CBD which will create up to 5000 direct and indirect jobs while re-energising Perth.

“This will have positive flow on effects for small businesses including retail, restaurants and bars while returning vibrancy to our capital city.”

Property Council WA Executive Director Sandra Brewer welcomed the agreement.

Whilst the Council had previously called for a more ambitious deal which covered more of metropolitan Perth, Brewer said the expansion of three universities into the CBD would create a higher education centre of excellence and deliver new vibrancy to the city centre with flow-on benefits for business.

Additionally, the agreement’s focus on social infrastructure, including better homelessness assistance, safety, innovation and cultural investments, were important ingredients for a thriving city.

“The prospect of 9,200 students in the CBD from 2025, growing to 25,000 over time, provides a rare opportunity to meet the City of Perth’s population targets of 90,000 residents by 2050, as many of those students will choose to live nearby,” Ms Brewer said.

“While we have called for a more ambitious City Deal that covered more of metropolitan Perth, today’s announcement unlocks a range of opportunities for new housing, office and entertainment developments that will reignite our CBD and drive growth.

“City retailers and businesses should feel energised about the future and the vision being created for a dynamic and inviting CBD,” Ms Brewer explained.

“We’re pleased that a significant proportion of City Deal funding will go to fixing some of the challenges with CBD transport, such as poor pedestrian access, incomplete bike paths and wayfinding – all helping to create a more people-friendly city.”