FREMANTLE state Labor MP Simone McGurk has blasted the Barnett government for spending $6.3 million to move a heritage building 150 metres for the Elizabeth Quay project, while heritage-listed warders’ cottages in the port city continue to crumble.
The money to shift the Grand Palace restaurant in the old Florence Hummerston building from Perth’s Esplanade includes a $5m payout to the restaurateur, but that could rise as the final figure is still being negotiated.
The government insists the cost is being “absorbed” into the project budget.
“It would have been better to see that money spent on the cottages,” Ms McGurk says. “We are seeing money being sucked into the CBD and Elizabeth Quay.”
She raised a grievance motion in parliament this week, getting stuck into the government over its lack of action on the cottages.
“The City of Fremantle has expressed an interest to partner with the Department of Housing to repair and manage the cottages,” Ms McGurk says.
“But after two years the Barnett government has still not reached an agreement on the site.
“Thousands of Western Australians are desperately in need of affordable housing while these cottages sit empty.”
Premier Colin Barnett pulled out of a tour organised by the Fremantle Inner-City Residents Association a few weeks ago.
by STEVE GRANT