'New' Parliament could be part of radical overhaul

31 May, 2010 09:53 AM
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The Legislative Assembly could be moved into a new building under proposals being developed by the state government.
The Legislative Assembly could be moved into a new building under proposals being developed by the state government.

A POSSIBLE "new" Legislative Assembly and Council and two new buildings - one to house the Premier's offices - are all part of the latest plan to redevelop the area surrounding Parliament.

The Department of Premier and Cabinet is looking to develop a strategic masterplan for the precinct, which takes in the areas bound by Havelock Street, Kings Park Road, Malcolm, Elder, and Hay streets, and Parliament Place.

The masterplan, for which the government will pay $88,000, is the latest in a raft of studies over the past decade, but seemingly the most radical overhaul.

"The masterplan will ensure that that the Parliamentary Precinct develops as a significant civic asset to the city, a potent symbol of community aspirations and a place embodying both the history and future aspirations of our state," says a document prepared for the DPC, and obtained by www.watoday.com.au

There was a need to rationalise accommodation across the precinct in order "to improve both the services and legibility of parliamentary functions".

This could include a new 5000 square metre building to accommodate both the Legislative Assembly and Council and Parliamentary Service Department.

The present Parliament was initially opened in 1904, with the southern extension being constructed in 1978.

It is heritage-listed and part of the brief is to explore retaining the building with its issues and maintenance documented.

The Legislative Council chamber recently underwent a refurbishment.

Two other new 10,000 square metre buildings could also be needed - one to house the Premier's office, State Reception Centre, Media Centre, Cabinet Room and the DPC, while the other would hold the agencies that reported directly to Parliament, such as the Public Sector Commission and Ombudsman.

Both buildings could be linked, "however some physical level of separation is considered desirable to signify the independence of the agencies that report directly to Parliament from ministerial and central agency direction", the document says.

Dumas House would be retained to accommodate Ministers and the Treasury part of the Department of Treasury and Finance.

Some other functions of that department are to be relocated to Herdsman, as part of a government plan to save up to $25 million a year on office costs by decentralising, reducing space allocated for each worker and consolidating offices.

Five Ministers, including the Premier, are among those now housed in Governor Stirling Tower, but the lease on the St Georges Terrace building will expire in mid-2012.

Other Ministers are split between Dumas House, London House and Allendale Square.

Ten government offices will be shifting to the 19-storey 140 William St development when it is completed.

The cost of implementing the masterplan will be assessed by a government commission.

While the Parliamentary Reserve and building, and Dumas House, are heritage-listed, so are several other buildings in the precinct such as the old Hale School, old Observatory, the First Church of Christ, Scientist, and the Barracks Arch, as well as private residences.

The final masterplan - complete with 3D imagery - is expected to go before the Parliamentary Precinct Steering Committee - comprised of representatives from the government, WA Planning Commission, City of Perth, and the Heritage Council - in October.

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