The Property Council unveils a bold vision to triple the population of central Perth, as Project 90k aims to unlock growth, create jobs and diversify the state’s economy.
With just under 30,000 residents, Perth’s CBD has the lowest population density of any capital city except Darwin, Hobart and Adelaide.
But Sandra Brewer, the Property Council’s executive director in Western Australia, argues the city has “unmatched potential” to evolve as a centre of excellence for education, tourism, technology and remote operations.
The Property Council launched a new blueprint, Project 90k, on Friday to support a 90,000-strong population target – something Brewer says is “crucial” to a successful Perth City Deal.
Project 90k maps out a “five-pronged pathway” to enhance services, connectivity, branding, governance and focus on the CBD.
The Property Council commissioned placemaking consultancy Urbis to model the infrastructure needs of 90,000 city residents within the current city of Perth boundary. Urbis found increased demand for:
- Childcare and schools: including 1,000-plus extra childcare spaces, 30 playgrounds, up to three new primary schools and two high schools.
- Dining and entertainment: nearly 27,000 young people aged between 20 and 34 would be looking for dining and entertainment options, including gym facilities and a potential aquatic and recreation centre.
- Aged care and retirement living: an additional 5,000 retirees would need aged care and retirement living option, as well as a new library.
According to Sean Morrison, associate director of Urbis, it’s time to take CBD residents’ needs as seriously as those of inner, middle and outer residents.
“It’s crazy to think that we have planned all future school sites out to Yanchep, but the city doesn’t have a plan for spaces for services we need for a thriving CBD community.”
Speaking at the Property Council’s Reinventing the Perth CBD lunch on Friday, Ben Morton, minister assisting the Prime Minister, said there was “a real opportunity to bring more people into the Perth CBD and demonstrate how to maintain liveability in a more densely populated area”.
A City Deal for the Perth CBD, with “nuanced” Australian population policy, could ease pressure on east coast infrastructure, Morton said.
WA minister for transport and planning, Rita Saffioti, said people were the critical ingredient for a thriving CBD. The state government had finalised tenders for zipline and Matagarup Bridge walk in the Optus Stadium precinct, was scoping an aquatic centre at the WACA and was talking to universities about a CBD university campus, she said.
City of Perth commissioner Andrew Hammond said a City Deal, including a university campus, could prove the catalyst for a CBD population of 90,000 by 2050.
“If ever we needed a City Deal it’s now,” Commissioner Hammond said.