The West Australian government this week announced it would pay just over half of the cost of the 100ha revamp, which will include restaurants, boardwalks, retail outlets and potentially a multi million dollar beachside public pool.
Few seem to dispute the fact the area is looking tired, suffers from a poor reputation and is an under utilised but prime location.
But whether WA can afford the development – facing its first budget deficit in 15 years – is in contention.
Opposition treasury spokesman, Ben Wyatt, said the plan probably had more merit than other projects underway, but it would be paid for by future governments as WA piled on debt.
“Whether the state can afford something or not is not enormously relevant to (Premier) Colin Barnett,” Wyatt told AAP.
“Labor welcomes this sort of investment but there certainly doesn’t seem to be any desire within government to control spending.”
A talkback caller complained to Barnett that taxpayers would no doubt help pay for the revamp via higher fees and charges.
“Cost of living has gone through the roof and you don’t seem to want to stop building,” the caller said on ABC radio.
“Why don’t you tighten the purse strings and stop spending a little bit so we don’t have to be the ones who pay for things that we can’t really afford right now?”
Barnett conceded the government “had spent”, but said the new seafront would be a boost for tourism, diversifying the state’s economy.
It was a popular plan, he said, particularly among young people who were seeing “some vibrancy coming into the city”.