The progress of Albany’s much-anticipated Anzac Interpretive Centre is facing further delay after revelations a decision on its location will not be made until next week at the earliest.
Site selection failed to occur before the State Government went into caretaker mode yesterday, raising fears it could be delayed another six weeks as government processes grind to a halt in the lead-up to the State election.
Premier Colin Barnett had called for the decision to be made before the caretaker period began.
But Anzac Interpretive Centre Implementation Group chairman Richard Muirhead said planning processes would not be affected by caretaker conventions.
“I can’t imagine there’s any application to government for planning approval in any form in the next six weeks,” Mr Muirhead said.
“Even if the decision is to continue with the existing site I don’t think we’ll be ready to put a planning application in for that, so I don’t think there’ll be any issue.”
Mr Barnett last month rejected plans for the centre to be built atop Mt Adelaide, citing engineering, cost and time difficulties, and backed an area closer to the forts precinct looking south over the Ataturk Channel as the State Government’s preferred site.
The final decision nominally lies with the implementation group’s committee, which includes WA RSL president Graham Edwards, acting City of Albany chief executive Graham Foster and State director of the Department of Veteran Affairs Peter King.
Mr Muirhead said the committee would visit both prospective sites next Tuesday before making a final decision.
Yesterday Mr Barnett reaffirmed his belief the centre would be built in time for the centenary celebrations and said he had ensured work would not be delayed during the caretaker period.
“This included writing to the Mayor of Albany confirming the State’s funding commitment,” Mr Barnett said.
He said a grant agreement between Albany and the State Government was signed last Friday.
“However, it is important the site be finalised as quickly as possible,” Mr Barnett said.
Albany RSL branch president Peter Aspinall said he was disappointed with further delays.
“Everybody’s talking about the economics of it, and the cost of operating it ... but where does the major focus lie — on it being a commemorative facility or a commercial facility?” he asked.