Candidates reveal business priorities for City of Perth

27 September, 2017

From addressing high parking rates in the city to reducing red tape and attracting more people to the City of Perth, local government candidates have put forward what they would make a priority for business.

CCI asked the 16 hopefuls vying for four positons at the City of Perth’s October 21 local government election what their top three priorities are for business if elected to the City of Perth.

Here’s what they said:  

Anthony Olivieri

1. Let entrepreneurs get on with growing their businesses by working to reduce red tape.

2. Work to make Perth more welcoming, safe and affordable to visitors and locals. Let’s get people into the City of Perth, let them enjoy all that’s available, in a safe and vibrant atmosphere.

3. Meet with businesses regularly to listen to concerns, issues, and ideas. Be the voice of business and residents.

James Limnios (Deputy Lord Mayor)

It is our role as the Capital City Council to create an environment that helps our small businesses to survive and thrive. I want to see our small businesses at the forefront of our economic growth, providing services and bringing people back to the CBD and its various precincts

1. Restoring the relationship with the State Government and address antisocial behaviour in a respectful and appropriate manner.

2. Small business initiatives including free parking (first hour free in all city controlled car parks and on street in main entertainment and retail precincts and free weekend shopper parking in select city carparks) as well as free and simple alfresco permits via an online registration process.

3. Reduce city operating costs and red tape associated with doing business in the City, aiming for a 10 per cent reduction in operating costs without impact on service.

Michael Sutherland

1. Create a new and vibrant retail and entertainment plan to attract people to the City to shop and enjoy the facilities. The many newly completed infrastructure projects such as Elizabeth Quay, Northbridge Link and Point Fraser must be promoted and well used. Parking fees should be decreased. For example, I was charged $12 – $6 per hour  for 1hr 10 minutes at the Convention Centre carpark but people should only pay for the time they are in the carpark and not for full hours irrespective.

2. Anti- social behaviour is an issue often raised with me, particularly begging and vagrancy. Both have increased markedly over the last number of years. This puts people off coming into the City and is of constant annoyance to business owners. To try to resolve this the Council has to work closely with the State Government. The City must feel safe and be clean and inviting.

3. It is vital for the Council to work closely with the State Government, Perth Convention Bureau, major investors, CCI, Property Council, the MRA and other stakeholders to co-ordinate strategies that maximise funds available to improve and  promote the City  and encourage events and investment into the City.

Di Bain

1. Immediately address the City’s spending problem so we can afford to focus on cutting rates.

2. Reduce the City’s reliance on parking fees. An era of driverless vehicles is just around the corner - this will be a huge disruption to the parking industry business and the City’s revenue base.

3. Develop strategies to streamline approvals processes and cut red tape. For example, automating alfresco dining requests and bringing existing City business event approvals in line with the fast track approvals that pop-ups enjoy.

Natasha Tang

1. Reduce parking fees and open up free parking on the weekends and public holidays. Working closely with State Government to push for railway link from International Airport to Perth CBD.

2. Advocate to fully support business development to transform Perth City into a prosperous and interesting city to visit by locals and tourists.

3. Promote world class events to raise Perth’s profile.

Michael Felix

1. Making business in the city more competitive with new super retail hubs in suburban areas. Reducing administrative fees such as alfresco licencing. Reducing parking costs, and implementing free parking times and zones. This will help improve traffic to the city  and not only create a social vibrancy but an economic one.

2. Activating the numerous ‘dead spots’ within Perth to engage more foot traffic by creating pop up business hubs to allow more small businesses to engage with the large number of residents; reactivating streetscapes to make them more appealing to families; and engaging in more social and cultural events to engage families and visitors.

3. Brand exposure and training. For the City to be vibrant and successful, the businesses within the City need to be successful. The toughest part of owning and operating a business is understanding how to plan and run the business, along with then engaging to ensure you have enough foot traffic for your business to be successful. I’d push to expand the current programs the City of Perth run to provide more training events for small business in business management, planning, finance management and social media. I’d also create a share platform to build exposure by having the City of Perth develop of “marketplace” application that gives a free nd central platform for business to engage ratepayers and visitors to the city.

Dhan Shrestha

1. I will facilitate a workshop with all willing members of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of WA with the help of a professional facilitator within two months of my appointment and collaborate together with your Members to come up with short-term, mid-term and long-term plans of actions for business and industry ratepayers for their promotion and growth within the city of Perth.

2. I will collaborate with CEO of Perth to appoint a dedicated professional staff to serve the members of your organisation. During my tenure your Members will see and experience enhanced prompt customer service for business and industry ratepayers. There will be an increase facilitation on tourism development, lobby Asian consular or embassies to organise bilateral or multilateral trade delegations, business expos and matchmaking services on feasible business and project ideas, if needed, with the help of State and Federal Government.

3. I will strongly lobby Federal and State Government and for bipartisan agreements for reduction of red tape with innovative ideas in implementing change management practices and, if necessary, encouraging concerned parties to modify any legal hurdles by amending existing Local Government acts and regulations.

Reece Harley

1. Rebuild the community's trust in the Council and our decision-making processes. It’s time to get our City back on track. This October you have the power to elect Councillors who will rebuild confidence and pride in our great City. You deserve representatives who are open and accountable, and who put the interests of the City ahead of their own. My number one priority is to rebuild the community’s trust in the Council and our decision-making processes. 

2. Repair the relationship with State Government. The relationship between the State Government and the Lord Mayor has completely broken down. As a Capital City it is completely untenable for our Lord Mayor (chief spokesperson and advocate) to not be on speaking terms with the Premier and senior Government Ministers. My first priority, if re-elected, will be to work to repair the relationship between the State Government and the Council so that we can progress a range of important agendas including the Perth Parking Levy, major tourism attractions, the long overdue Northbridge Noise Regulations, loosening restrictions on business operating hours, reforms to the retail tenancy act to allow for more temporary activation of empty spaces, reforms through the Council of Australian Governments to provide greater Building Code flexibility for developers who are restoring and activating heritage properties, and a raft of other measures which have fallen by the wayside in recent years.

3. Reduce operational spending so that we can cut fees and charges: The City of Perth has a spending problem. Our spending has been increasing at a faster rate than our revenue and the years ahead are uncertain. We now have around 750 staff at the Council and we’ve become experts at producing reports, strategic plans, policies, discussion papers and studies at great cost to ratepayers. Around $70m of our $190m annual budget is derived from parking revenue, but technological advances and the possible rise of autonomous vehicles, and increasing ride sharing means that parking income can not necessarily be relied upon in the medium term. We need to reduce our reliance on parking fees by cutting base operational costs so that we can afford to cut alfresco licence fees, reduce planning approval fees, keep rates low and make it cheaper for people to start new businesses and run events in the City.

Steven Hasluck

1. Alfresco dining fees. Work with Councillors to abolish the current alfresco dining fee. Insurances would remain payable and designated areas of use would still be monitored under the proposal. I believe this move will encourage business onto the streets making for a more inviting and vibrant city overall. I would also encourage the businesses to be creative with the space they have to use.

2. Parking. Introduce 30-minute to one-hour free parking. One of the big issues I’m hearing from both local businesses and residents is parking is a major issue. I know offering first hour parking won’t fix all the issues out there but I strongly believe is a great place to start. This is something that once approved by council can be implemented very quickly and we should begin to see results instantly.

3. Stronger financial management. The City needs to curb spending where possible to ensure pressure is not added to business with higher rates and charges. Forecast spending verses income to the City indicates we need to count the pennies and ensure we are smarter with funds.

Scott O’Keefe

1. Helping SMEs as business drives business. Low occupancy in small/medium business and retail has a spiral affect within the sector. Council needs to consult with businesses/business groups more on improving business and making it easier to start and run a business in Perth. We need to encourage unique events that utilise businesses already in Perth. A lot of vendors attending events are working in direct competition with Perth businesses. I would like to see more local Perth businesses with a presence at events, creating more awareness of what’s in the local area. Better marketing of Perth’s retail and business sector.   

2. Review a number of options to encourage more people to use public transport and offer parking incentives when people are conducting transactions with businesses in Perth. One way this could be implemented would be to offer a ticket validation service for reduced transport/parking cost on completion of some types of transactions.

3. Better management of unwelcome and anti-social behaviour. I know from talking with other business owners and from my own experience as a small business owner in Perth, groups of youths are becoming a problem as they are swarming shops; stealing; and creating havoc in general. There is the added problem of homeless people camping outside a lot of businesses. It’s very difficult to control the groups and this affects your business. I will work hard with police, rangers and community groups to put steps in place to manage this kind of behaviour.

Lynette Wen

1. To really listen to small businesses’ concerns and be their voice on the Council. As a local business owner, I understand the frustrations of small businesses and will work hard to address business owners’ concerns.

2. To remove excessive red tape for small businesses and to ensure that the Council is efficient in ensuring that businesses grow and improve our economy. I believe that small businesses are the back-bone of our great City and will work hard to ensure that businesses thrive in Perth.

3. To attract more people into the City to enable businesses to expand their sales of goods and services. I will attract investments into our City and improve the facilities here to meet the growing demands of our City’s businesses.

Terry Maller

1. Available at Council House each weekday.

2. Enhanced streetscapes and cleaning regimens.

3. Homelessness, anti-social behaviour and policing.



Keith Yong, Judy McEvoy, Xiano Liang and Lexi Barton are also in the running but did not supply a response.

For candidate profiles and more information visit the WA Election Commission