2000 job hopes sink with poor 3 oceans decision

Published: 18 Dec 2017

“The Western Australian construction industry along with many other industries has been hit extremely hard during WA’s economic downturn.

Construction employment in WA fell by 9.2% in the 18 month period from February 2016 to August 2017. *

Latest figures released show an increase in WA’s total unemployment rate which is now sitting at 6.6%, the highest in 12 months.

So the decision of the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority (MRA) to reject the 3 Oceans development at Scarborough will come as devastating news to over 2000 workers who were expecting to be employed on the project.

It appears to our union to be an incredulous decision by the MRA, given that all the indicators leading up to the approval decision were extremely positive.

All the boxes had been ticked, including extensive community consultation which had garnered broad support; advice from traffic planners, economic advisors and the project had support from local business and tourism operators. The builder chosen for the project, Brookfield Multiplex had a project-hardened workforce ready to start immediately, from the completed Optus Stadium.

The MRA had expressed some concerns over pedestrian traffic in and around the project location which, in every practical sense was addressed by the developer, who included at their expense, a footbridge as the ultimate solution. The footbridge was first mooted back in March of this year, it even appealed to the MRA, yet incredibly, the MRA has stated that the bridge was not part of the application and was not taken into account in its assessment.

The MRA state on their own website that “We’re breathing new life into Perth through urban renewal and place making”. At a time when the new State Government is trying to repair the budget deficit, the MRA is putting in place road blocks to private investment. It sends a negative signal to future investors, at a time WA needs to attract more private investment to create jobs and take pressure off the budget and taxpayers.

The MRA gave its reason for rejecting the project as ‘over development of the land.’ All the key stakeholders didn’t think so. What does that mean? Was the new Optus Stadium over development? Is the Perth Museum? What about future development and investment at Waterbank on Perth’s causeway? Will other vital projects to the future of this city and our state be rejected because of what sounds like bureaucratic bungling?

This is a critical time for WA. It is a time when we all need to work together to create jobs and opportunities. The decision by the MRA appears to be at odds with this approach.

This was not a project where common sense was sacrificed for profit. It was about creating much needed affordable housing, tourism accommodation, retail and hospitality opportunities but most of all jobs. Thousands of jobs to build it and thereafter from the attractions on offer to both locals and tourists. The WA Government is putting substantial resources into tourism. This decision by the MRA will do nothing to diversify our economy.

The MRA needs to be held accountable for their decision to reject the 3 Oceans development. It shows how out of touch they are with community sentiment and the economic realities faced by the majority of Western Australians. The CFMEU calls upon the WA Government to review the decision of the MRA and to identify what it would take to get this much needed project off the ground. Western Australians cannot afford to lose this type of development, private investment, local jobs and diversified economic opportunities. Surely, common sense must prevail.”

Mick Buchan