The West Australian exclusive

McGowan Government pledges $10m to revitalise ailing Geraldton suburb

Headshot of Elise Van Aken
Elise Van AkenGeraldton Guardian
A housing complex in Spalding which is entirely boarded up.
Camera IconA housing complex in Spalding which is entirely boarded up. Credit: Geraldton Guardian/Elise Van Aken

Calls to action have finally been answered, with the State Government pledging $10 million to revitalise the Geraldton suburb of Spalding in this year’s Budget.

Today, Housing Minister John Carey will announce Spalding will receive half of a $20m commitment to support social housing revitalisation in suburbs in Geraldton, Bunbury and Albany.

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Four uninhabited properties will be demolished to make way for a new road between Mitchell Street and Bogle Way. The latter is a cul-de-sac with a high concentration of public housing properties and boarded-up homes.

Some 45 Government-owned homes throughout the suburb will be refurbished and made available to tenants.

WA Premier Mark McGowan and Minister for Housing John Carey announce new public housing builds.
Camera IconWA Premier Mark McGowan and Minister for Housing John Carey announce new public housing builds. Credit: Simon Santi/The West Australian

Other roadworks, streetscaping and landscaping have also been promised to revitalise the suburb.

As part of the 2021-22 Budget, to be handed down on Thursday, the Government will spend $9m on capital works in Spalding, while the remaining $1m has been allocated for planning and administration.

Mr Carey, who took over the housing portfolio this year, said honest and open discussions with Geraldton MLA Lara Dalton, City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn and local community housing staff, and a visit to the area, proved the importance of implementing the 2019 Spalding Precinct Plan with the local government.

“This really is about refurbishing existing social housing but also looking at how we can renew certain parts of Spalding, particularly where there is a high concentration of social housing,” he said.

“The reason behind (the demolition) is good urban planning.

“If you open up areas, it will enable ... pedestrian and car flow and be good for a neighbourhood.

“It is an investment, that balance of refurbishing social housing and renewing a precinct which we can make a more attractive place to live.”

Mr Carey said more social housing was also set to be built across Geraldton, including homes to suit bigger families and smaller units.

It is an investment, that balance of refurbishing social housing and renewing a precinct which we can make a more attractive place to live.

- State housing minister John Carey.
Lara Dalton
Camera IconLara Dalton Credit: Supplied

Ms Dalton said she had received strong feedback on the need for housing across the city and improvements to Spalding since campaigning for election last year.

“I’m really ecstatic about it, it’s something very close to my heart,” she said.

“A lot of the issues were raised with me then, and I’m just really happy all the conversations and lobbying have finally got there.

“Some of the long-term residents and people who have bought homes raised with me how much they enjoyed living in Spalding, but also about boarded-up houses and that they’d like to see some investment in footpaths and amenities like that making the space a little bit more attractive.

“There’s some really cool things happening down there but there are also some issues which need to be addressed, and it’s just about making lives better for everybody.”

Ms Dalton said she hoped the funding commitment would encourage the City of Greater Geraldton to invest in the suburb in areas that came under its jurisdiction.

Commencement and estimated completion dates for works have not yet been set and are subject to industry availability.

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