AFTER decades of discussion and debate about connecting the Swan River to the city, West Australian Premier Colin Barnett and Planning Minister John Day last week officially opened Elizabeth Quay.
"This project fundamentally changes the face of Perth; it connects us to the Swan River and provides a huge boost to the vitality of our city," Mr Barnett said.
"I would like to congratulate everyone who has played a part in bringing this project to reality and in particular I'd like to acknowledge the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority and the support of the City of Perth."
Mr Day said Elizabeth Quay was a once in a generation project that changed the physical and cultural landscape of our city.
"Together with Perth City Link and the Riverside project, Elizabeth Quay is a key part of this Government's vision to progress Perth as an internationally competitive city for the 21st century," he said.
"My aim for this project was to deliver a space that all West Australians can enjoy, from family friendly activities; to a place workers in the CBD can grab a bite to eat; to a unique destination you can be proud to take visitors to the State, and I believe we have achieved this.
"As well as the free spaces available, including the BHP Billiton Water Park and nature-based inspired playground, a calendar of events and activities have been planned to create a precinct that is an active and exciting place to be, whatever the time of day."
Mr Day said he expected an excellent return to the State from the sale of the land surrounding the public realm, with about half of the project's initial cost of $440 million to be recouped.
"Land sales at Elizabeth Quay have been very successful. More than $89 million has already been returned through the sale of lots to the Far East Consortium and Chevron Australia," he said.
"The Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority is also working with Brookfield Multiplex on Lots 5 and 6, and CA & Associates Pty Ltd, who have just been selected as the preferred proponent for Lots 2 and 3. The remaining lot (4) will be home to the Perth International Arts Festival and other events until it is released for sale in line with market demand.
"The financial benefit goes well beyond the sale of land; the project has also generated about 4,000 direct and indirect jobs during the nearly four-year construction, and is expected to attract $2.2 billion from the private sector.
"The construction of the 204-room The Ritz-Carlton hotel and 379 residential apartments is valued at about $400 million. This is private sector investment that will directly benefit the State through jobs and would not have come to fruition without the redevelopment of this land."
More information is available from the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority's Elizabeth Quay website at <http://www.elizabethquay.wa.gov.au/>.