Disused WA heritage power station to be given new life

East Perth Power Station
East Perth Power Station. Image: Moondyne

A redevelopment of the iconic East Perth Power Station has taken a significant step forward, with the WA Government allocating $30 million towards carrying out long-awaited site works.

The $30 million, to be included in the upcoming State Budget, will be the largest single funding commitment towards the project since the former East Perth Redevelopment Authority took over the site in 2003.

The funding will go towards de-constraining the site of the energy infrastructure that currently services the Perth CBD, such as a gas pressure reduction station and Western Power’s electricity switchyard, as well as undergrounding the transmission line along the foreshore.

The timing and scope of this work will be finalised later this year once the final feasibility studies have been considered by government.

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This will provide confidence to the proposed developers who have shown a strong interest in revitalising this landmark location but have long sought certainty about the future of the energy infrastructure on the site and the timing of any decommissioning works.

An Expression of Interest (EOI) process began four years ago and, although five proponents have now been shortlisted, the process was stalled due to the previous Liberal National Government’s failure to undertake the necessary planning work and funding.

The 103-year-old East Perth Power Station ceased operating in 1981 and is listed on the State Register of Heritage Places.

It is envisaged a future development will celebrate the heritage of the former power station building, provide public access for the community and ensure there are social and cultural benefits for Western Australians.

The 8.5-hectare site also provides the opportunity to create a new METRONET precinct around East Perth station with new housing opportunities, improved access to public transport and better connectivity with the Swan River.

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WA Premier Mark McGowan said for too long the site has been left to waste on the banks of the Swan River.

“I want to see it progress because it provides a unique opportunity to create something special for our State,” he said.

WA Energy Minister Bill Johnston said it’s great there is now direction and certainty for stakeholders at the East Perth site.

“The funding will allow Western Power to decommission the 66kVA switching yard, which some people will be surprised to know is still in use,” he said.

“The removal of the switching yard is a huge task for Western Power and will require upgrades to its assets throughout the CBD in line with Western Power’s CBD energy strategy to future proof the city’s power supply.”