Perth's inner-city could be home for more than 50,000 people by the turn of the century, Premier Carmen Lawrence said today.
Dr Lawrence said that a colourful, vibrant city centre was an exciting prospect brought about by Government decisions to give people new options for residential housing.
"It is obvious many people choose suburban living but a Government-sponsored taskforce earlier this year suggested that tens of thousands of people would like to live in the inner-city if they were given the chance," Dr Lawrence said.
"They should have that choice and under the Government's plans for the inner city they will.
"As a conservative estimate, I would suggest that we can expect more than 50,000 people living in the inner-city by the turn of the century."
Speaking at the opening of the Inner City Living office in Perth's King Street, the Premier detailed a scheme of land tax rebates to encourage more residential development in the inner-city.
"Inner-city landlords whose properties are zoned for commercial use but are used for residential purposes will be able to claim the rebate.
"They will receive a rebate equivalent to the difference between their current land tax assessment and that which would have applied in a residential zone."
The Premier said the scheme would mean the Government would forgo about $350,000 in revenue this financial year.
"The Inner City Living project represents the Government's commitment to a city centre which will reflect the character of a prosperous State moving into the 21st century," Dr Lawrence said.
"The choice of King Street as the `shop front' for Inner City Living is very appropriate given that the development of the King Street Heritage Precinct will be one of its first priorities.
"The Inner City Living office will provide the facilities for developers to display information on projects while allowing the public to learn about the opportunities associated with city living without the pressure of a sales office."
Dr Lawrence also said the office would work to ensure the approval and construction process for inner-city housing was streamlined.
As well, a data-base of buildings and sites suitable for residential development was being established by the Inner-City Living office to help potential developers.