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Perth's new waterfront finally going ahead

WA Premier Colin Barnett says the redevelopment of the Perth waterfront is finally going ahead. (AP)


It has been 30 years of talk but West Australian Premier Colin Barnett says the redevelopment of the Perth waterfront is finally going ahead with construction to start early next year.

The premier announced on Tuesday cabinet has approved $270 million in funding for the project in next year's budget with construction expected to be completed in mid-2014.

Mr Barnett said that despite decades of talk from successive Liberal and Labor governments over the project, which will transform the Perth's Swan River foreshore, he could now guarantee it would become a reality.

"I can reassure the people of Perth, there has been a lot of talk, a lot of design and discussions about the Perth waterfront over at least the last 30 years, the project now is formally underway," he told reporters.

The design for the project had been chosen and will include a 2.7 hectare inlet, a boardwalk and promenade which will link to a man-made island.

It will also include residential, retail and commercial office space as well as a national Indigenous Cultural Centre which will be built once the waterfront project is completed.

Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi said, given the fact this project and the proposal to sink the city's railway line are going ahead, it was evident the city is truly changing.

"Along with the Perth city link, this is the most significant thing happening in our capital city, certainly within the last 100 years," Ms Scaffidi said.

"We're going to look back on this time and realise the exponential growth for our capital city right now is significant. More importantly it's enabled us to rebrand ourselves as a city increasingly on a global stage."

Mr Barnett said the cost of construction will be about $440 million however after land sales the net cost for tax payers will be about $270 million.

He said he was optimistic the area around the project "will be the best land in Perth" and depending on the property market, believed the government will come out well from the sale.

"I'm confident and the people involved in the planning, engineering side are confident that we have got a handle on this, so that's the best projection of the cost of it," the premier said.

"I think the upside might well be there on property sales as the project comes to fruition, given the growth in the city and the demand for more residential and commercial space."

Ms Scaffidi said it was possible there would be blow-outs in the project's cost however it should be viewed as an investment.