Perth councils face budget strain

With an uncertain economic future ahead, local governments are starting to feel the pressure, with some thinking twice about large scale plans.

Curtin University economics professor Helen Cabulu says WA has the highest rate of inflation across Australia.

She says it is expected large-scale productions will be put on hold in the current economic climate.

“What’s happening now is that the economy is experiencing a business cycle,” she says.

“At the moment we are in a business cycle where we are going down.

“Projects will have to be cut back or delayed in a way until interest rates settle.”

Plans to develop the Collier Park Golf Course into a recreation hub are up in the air. Photo: Noah O’Reilly.

She says that puts pressure on large-scale projects, like the the City of South Perth’s plans to build a Recreation and Aquatic Facility hub at the Collier Park Golf Course.

The city’s council is reconsidering the $20 million dollar project citing increasing costs, such as taxes, building costs and interest rates.

Rockingham mayor Deb Hamblin says the city is also feeling the pressure of the current economic climate.

“We are still managing to get a lot of those projects up, but there are times when tenders have come in and we just need to decline because it is so much more than the budget itself,” she says.

Ms Hamblin says despite the economic environment, some projects have still made it past the finish line.

“Last week we were able to open the Baldivis Sports Complex, which is a multimillion-dollar sporting complex,” she says.

Ms Cabulu says the rising inflation rate impacts local governments on a number of fronts.

“It even affects the expenditure of governments … say if you’re building roads, even the cement price is higher.”

Ms Cabulu says it’s not all doom and gloom.

“Some are saying we may reach a recession, but I don’t think we will get to that. We may see a bouncing back of the economy.”

The proposed development is expected to cover a large portion of Collier Park Golf Course. Photo: Noah O’Reilly.