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Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas with new council October 2023

Coffee with the Council

The City provides the opportunity for members of the public to ask the Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas and Councillors questions relating to Council in the form of Coffee with the Council sessions. 

These sessions occur at venues across the City of Perth at varying timeslots to ensure the sessions are accessible to all. If you'd like to suggest a venue for a future session, please let us know here

Summary of topics discussed at previous sessions:

  • Aboriginal Cultural Centre
  • Activations & Experiences
  • Bed Down Initiative
  • Causeway footbridge
  • Community Centre
  • Council House Fountains
  • Elizabeth Quay and Yagan Square
  • Ferry Transport
  • Homelessness and Anti-Social Behaviour
  • Mixed Residential and Commercial
  • Northbridge
  • Parking in the City
  • Retail Store Vacancies
  • Revitalisation of Perth
  • RUAH
  • WA Day
  • World Cup Activations

Frequently Discussed Topics

  • Aboriginal Cultural Centre

    A community member requested an update on the Aboriginal Cultural Centre.

    The Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas stated the the best indication we have is it is all systems go, but of course  something like that is not going to happen overnight, and what is very clear is that there is a very significant period of consultation with the Wadjuk Noongars of Western Australia as there should be given it will be located on Wadjuk Noongar land, very proudly for all of us.

    • There isn’t a pre-eminent Aboriginal Cultural Centre in Australia of its kind, and there is the enormous opportunity to build the sort of tourist attraction that will be a huge catalyst to travel to Western Australia.
    • Deputy Lord Mayor Di Bain shared that 90% of tourists, international tourists that land at Perth airport are looking are seeking a traditional owner experiences. 
    • Meetings are very preliminary at the moment. 
    • Councillors stated they would be very keen to see the Aboriginal Cultural Centre in the centre of the City. 
  • Causeway Footbridge
    The Causeway is a State Government lead initiative. More information can be found here
  • Council House Fountains

    Community member: What happened to the Council House fountains? Why are they out of order?

    CEO’s response: The fountains have been turned off for a while because they leak out. They haven’t been filled up as there is a huge loss of water and we can’t justify losing water in this climate.

    • This will be in the 2022/2023 capital works as it is a heritage listed building and the nature of damage caused is quite expensive works. Restoration works are due to start in June due to structural issues.
  • Elizabeth Quay and Yagan Square

    Community member: Concerned about pedestrians and car traffic on Geoffrey Bolton Ave. Suggests for that road to be closed on weekends as there is high foot traffic.

    CEO’s response: You are correct about the road surfaces, which are a different between pedestrian and vehicle traffic. It was supposed to be a pedestrian priority zone.

    • Additionally, there are going to be a fair number of residents in the area as there are now and there is also a hotel operating. 
    • So closing the roads may create some other issues.
    • I think one of the areas the City is very much focused on is about how the traffic flows in the area is moving and we haven’t seen development of that site fully completed 
    • We are already talking to the Department of Transport and also Development WA about all transport movement in that vicinity. It’s on our radar.

    Community member: Expresses that Yagan Square is unattractive, has no vibrancy and neglected. Suggests adding more greenery. 

    Deputy Lord Mayor’s response: State Government has done expression of interest, they are going to try and get some activity and vibrancy in there, they have an idea with the company that do the Synagogue in Fremantle.

  • Ferry Transport

    Community member: Will the Council support more ferry services into the City like in Brisbane?

    LM’s response: We absolutely do. I think one of the issues on our end it the speed. It’s slow.

    • For example, from Canning Bridge, it would take 22 minutes by ferry & four minutes by train.
    • Of course, we would like to see our waterway activated, and see more access. Speed travelling along the river is slow.
    • I’m not sure that what happens in Sydney or Brisbane is viable here. But if that changes, then absolutely.
    • We would like to see more people in the City but ferry speed is slow.
  • Homelessness and Anti-Social Behaviour

    Community member: There are too many homeless people on the streets.

    Lord Mayor’s response: Yes, there are too many homeless people, in a society like ours you would think we would be able to do better. Unfortunately, we are in the middle of a state housing crisis. More and more people do not have homes.

    • I am very proud of some of the initiatives we have put in place. 2mil a year on the Safe Night Space at the Rod Evans Centre in East Perth.
    • Each night around 20 women are there taking shelter, and getting a comfortable night’s rest, under a roof with some provision of services, where otherwise they would be on the street.

    Community member expressed concern on anti-social behavior in the City and the authorities of Police Officers vs City Rangers.

    Lord Mayor’s Response: Our job is to administer the City. Law and Order is the domain of the Police.

    • The response from the Police Commissioner was we don’t police homelessness, we police behaviour.
    • Banning repeated offenders is not a law we can change. That’s not something the City of Perth can do, we can’t ban people from the City, that is simply not possible.
  • Parking in the City

    A community member expressed the need for free parking in the City.

    Lord Mayor’s response: In three of our best car parks, that’s Cultural Centre/His Majesty’s/Pier St CPP Car Parks, there is 3hrs free on weekends.

    • As part of the City of Perth bounce back scheme, due to restrictions, there is free nigh time parking from 6pm every night in every City of Perth CPP Car Park bay on and off street.
    • The idea of giving free parking is a difficult decision. City of Perth revenue account for 85% come from Rates & Parking. Other venues have been explored. 
    • If too much is given away, revenue needs to be made up in other ways, meaning rates will go up. Right now, we are effectively at capacity of what we can give away before increasing rates or other things. 
    • Council have asked administration to continue to look at ways to make city parking easier.
  • Retail Store Vacancies

    Community member: Has lived and worked in the City of 22 years and is experiencing probably the highest rate of unoccupancy of retail outlets – has the City been putting pressure on Landlords to reduce (retail) lease rates?
    Lord Mayor's response: We are put pressure on landlords all the time. We don’t want to see people leaving.

    • What happened at Carillion was horrendous for the City. We have some powers of persuasion, but we don’t have all powers of persuasion. And Ultimately, we rely on people being fair and reasonable and setting their rates to bring people and hopefully stay. To make it viable for people.
  • Revitalisation of Perth

    A community members asked the Elected Members about the short and long term goals of the revitalisation of the Perth.

    The Lord Mayor expressed that the first and most important thing was to address the fundamental issues and safety was number one. 

    • Major events was also listed as a priority following the success of the Grand Final activations and City of Light Drone Show. This includes the facilitation of major events such as Van Gogh. 
    • The Lord Mayor also reminded the community member of the parking incentives that exist with CPP. 
    • ECU is opening at Yagan Square and this is going to be incredible! That's 10,000 people added to the City's daily population from the backend of 2025.
    • Deputy Lord Mayor Di Bain references the Community Planning Scheme 3 which has a heavy focus on increasing the population of the City.
  • RUAH

    A community member queried the decision regarding the RUAH building being located along James Street.

    • A primary concern raised by Cr Fleeton was the management plan proposed by RUAH for when the shop closed and where the people would go. "We’ve got business owners in the city and investors that are going to transform James Street with an apartment building to cater for that international student hub. It just, it was not the right area for it. We need a plan where those centres are linking up with these services that people need on a holistic level."
    • The discussion is ongoing and the process of trying to assist RUAH to find another location that is both suitable to them and suitable to the community is ongoing. 
    • Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas stated that there was an overwhelming sense from the community that the location was not wanted for many reasons. In the end, it was a unanimous decision by council and they stand by that decision. 
    • Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas stated that the City works very closely with RUAH, they are the City's partners in the Safe Night Space. 
  • WA Day

    WA Day was hosted in Burswood in 2022, a community member queried whether or not it would move to Langley Park in the future. 

    • WA Day is an initiative run by the WA State Government, with the Town of Victoria Park hosting in 2022. 
    • The City is in conversation with organisers about endeavours to make the even bigger and better within the City of Perth.
    • Councillors stated the level of effort involved in running an event like this within the City of Perth - planning, hostile vehicle mitigation, impact on residents etc.