Last week I announced that the proposed City run petrol station was not feasible, and wouldn’t be progressed as it wasn’t a financially viable option for our ratepayers.
Whilst I am disappointed that we won’t be able to play a more direct role in reducing fuel prices for Kalgoorlie-Boulder residents, I believe the threat of a council service station may have helped lower the gap in petrol prices between Kalgoorlie-Boulder and Perth.
The petrol station is just one of a number of projects and initiatives that usually sits with private enterprise that the City is looking into.
Other projects that also sit outside the traditional scope of local government which the City is involved in are the hotel development at the Kalgoorlie Golf Course, bringing strategic industrial land to market, and of course the development of a much needed new childcare centre.
Earlier this week, Senator the Honourable Michaelia Cash, Federal Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, was in Kalgoorlie-Boulder for the Kalgoorlie Jobs Fair at the Goldfields Arts Centre.
Not only was Senator Cash delighted with the attendance at the Jobs Fair by both employers and job seekers, she also praised the work the City has done in bringing to market and attracting proponents, namely Lynas Corporation with its downstream processing facility at our strategic industrial land.
Senator Cash was also impressed with the City’s childcare initiative, and supported us in our belief that if the market doesn’t provide, there is a place for government to fill the gaps, and that’s exactly what we are doing with the childcare centre.
The City has provided $250,000 to prepare the land for the construction of a new, 129 place childcare centre which has been completely privately funded. Whilst the City will be holding half the places aside for its staff, there will still be more than 60 new places available in the centre, not to mention about 50 places opening up in other centres around town, which will only benefit everyone.
As some of the big industrial projects start to come online – another direct outcome of the City getting involved in facilitating private enterprise - we are going to start to see more specialised workers coming to Kalgoorlie-Boulder, and not only are they going to need somewhere to live, they will also need childcare, so we are preparing for that influx.
As a Council, we are better placed to advocate on behalf of our community, rather than competing with private enterprise, but, as they say, needs must, and driving jobs, growth and economic diversification is what we need to do.