City to further investigate funding for RAF

Media Release 31 March 2023

At a Special Council Meeting held on Thursday 30 March 2023, Council considered a report on the City’s proposed Recreation and Aquatic Facility (RAF)

In the report, the City recommended that Council not proceed with the RAF project due to high interest rates and uncertainty around the current economic climate. This, combined with a commitment that the RAF would not require an increase to rates, makes the project unviable, the report said.

At the meeting, Council noted the City’s recommendation and considered an alternative motion which requested the City seek a commitment from the State Government to provide the $20 million in capital funding necessary to deliver Stage 1 of the RAF in the context of the 23/24 State Budget to be delivered in May. 

Council also requested the City to investigate methods of financing the estimated $1-$1.5 million annual operating deficit of the RAF and present the findings to Council at a workshop by 31 May 2023.

In 2019, the Federal Government made a $20 million commitment to the $80 million RAF project. This was matched by a $20 million commitment from the City of South Perth in 2020. The City subsequently secured a $2-3 million capital commitment from Curtin University.

The City presented a $20 million funding proposal to the State Government in October 2021. In January 2023, the City was advised that the State Government had not yet made any final decision regarding the request.

City of South Perth Mayor Greg Milner said that Council had carefully considered the City’s report and recommendation. He said that while the increase in interest rates over the past 10 months had created a “radically different economic environment”, the community would expect Council to seek a firm answer to the City’s funding proposal before advising the Federal Government and other funding partners that the project was no longer viable.

“The City does not have the ability to borrow the estimated capital shortfall of $20 million in the current economic climate. The RAF Project must therefore secure additional external capital funding to address the capital shortfall.”

“The City submitted a $20 million funding proposal to the State Government in 2021. The State Government advised the City in January 2023 that they have not yet made a final decision on that funding proposal.”

“The City of South Perth community would expect their Council to seek a definitive answer from the State Government on our funding proposal, before voting to effectively end the RAF project and being obliged to give up most, if not all, of the $20 million grant received from the Federal Government. This is what Council has voted to do.”

Last night’s Special Council Meeting follows Council’s November 2022 resolution for the City to investigate a staged approach to the RAF Project.

Additional information about the project can be found on our RAF page.

To listen to the audio from the Special Council Meeting, please visit our Council Meetings page.

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For more information, please contact the City.