Subiaco will be “lively and fun” like Sydney and Melbourne, Premier Mark McGowan told Parliament this week, thanks to the high-rise development and density that have happened under his watch.
During a terse exchange with Liberal leader Libby Mettam on Tuesday, Mr McGowan berated the Opposition for standing in the way of new planning and development projects.
The Labor Party leader recently toured Subiaco and parts of the western suburbs and fully endorsed what he saw being built there and the potential for future development in the area.
“I was driving through the western suburbs the other day and I saw the Blackburne development in Peppermint Grove,” Mr McGowan said.
“Then I drove through Subiaco and I saw the new high-rise there (Blackburne’s One Subiaco) that the member for Cottesloe (David Honey) opposed.”
He said these towers, where a two bedroom apartment goes for around $870,000, would be occupied by “down-sizers” from the western suburbs and “younger people wanting to live in Subiaco and enjoy the lifestyle”.
Mr McGowan’s circuit also took him past the former Princess Margaret Hospital site and Subiaco Oval.
“I looked at those things, and over the next few years, they will have that medium-density exciting development, so lots of people will live there,” he said.
“Do members know what will happen then? All the shops, restaurants and bars will be lively and fun, like they are in the centre of Sydney and Melbourne.
“What is wrong with that?
“Why does the Liberal Party always oppose that? Why does the party of capitalism hate capitalism?”
Mr McGowan challenged the new Liberal Party leader to break with the approach taken by her predecessor, Mr Honey.
“Whenever (planning minister Rita Saffioti) tried to get some density – that evil word ‘density’ – or tried to ensure that people could build properties for people to live in who might want to downsize from a bigger block into an apartment, the last leader of the Liberal Party opposed it,” he said.
“Are you going to follow the anti-development, anti-activity route of her predecessor or is she going to support us when we are trying to get new investment, new activity and new places to live out there?”
Meanwhile, Ms Saffioti also praised the virtues of density and redevelopment in terms of housing diversity and choice in Subiaco.
The planning minister was the guest speaker at the “State of the Future” event at Crown last Friday, organised by Business News.
She cited Subi East as an example of how planning and development could be done well. Better housing choice meant downsizers could take the equity from their homes and “buy a very nice apartment” but also allow younger people to move into the suburb of their choice.
Ms Saffioti said Subiaco was “beautiful” with “beautiful old homes” but added: “There are some areas where we can hold more development.”