Master plan for Shire of Harvey’s proposed Australind Community Precinct narrowly scrapes through council

Headshot of Sean Van Der Wielen
Sean Van Der WielenHarvey-Waroona Reporter
The current Shire of Harvey council offices in Australind.
Camera IconThe current Shire of Harvey council offices in Australind. Credit: Sean Van Der Wielen/Harvey-Waroona Reporter

The Harvey Shire council has narrowly voted to move forward on plans to build a $23.1 million community hub in Australind.

Work on the proposed Australind Community Precinct has been ongoing since 2020 as the Shire seeks to improve services for residents in its growing southern half.

The project is proposed to include additional office space for staff, as well additional spaces for the community.

At the September 26 meeting, elected members were asked to approve the project’s master plan and move ahead with detailed design and planning, which has been budgeted at $2.5m this financial year.

Support for the precinct progressing to the next stage was far from unanimous, with the final vote being won 6-5.

Cr Craig Carbone said he was not opposed to the precinct but did not expect it to come to fruition.

“There’s $100 million worth of projects on the book of the Harvey Shire and every councillor knows here that that all those projects aren’t going to happen, and I think this is one of them,” he said.

With the project dependent on external funding, Cr Carbone said it might never receive the required cash for it to go ahead.

“I think there’s higher priorities in the Shire at the moment,” he said.

“Quite frankly, I’d rather see the ovals get done at the Leschenault Recreation Park for more cricket to get kids in sport, or the Ridley Place foreshore redevelopment.”

Cr Amanda Lovitt spoke for the precinct, stating the council needed to have good facilities and services for the community.

“If we don’t have the facilities to have good staff, then we don’t get to provide the community with good facilities and good services,” she said.

“This project, while it is about a community precinct, we have to have this building for the sake of having good staff to provide for our community.

“It’s not chicken and egg stuff. It’s not creating a building and hoping that we get great community. This is about looking after our current staff, our current community and our current level of service.”

Cr John Bromham said the council doing things in an ad-hoc manner in the past had resulted in dysfunctional facilities.

“I believe that the important thing that we’ve learned from that lesson through the planning processes is to make sure we’ve got these things shovel-ready to go,” he said.

Councillors Tania Jackson, Paul Beech, Robyn Coleman, Francis Burgoyne and Craig Carbone voted against the proposal.

Shire officers expect the precinct to start construction towards the end of the 2024-25 financial year if the project receives enough funding to go ahead.

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