Premier Mark McGowan says the State Government will not be funding new public toilets at Cottesloe Beach and has urged the Town of Cottesloe to “fix this problem now”.
His comments come two days after the Town of Cottesloe trucked in a row of bright-orange portaloos to the beachfront after a stand-off with a the owner of Indiana restaurant over the closure of its public toilet block.
Mr McGowan told 6PR Radio providing public toilets was a responsibility of council and one that other local governments managed to do it at other beaches around Perth.
He ruled out government funding, arguing “once the State gets into that field… where does it stop”.
“I would say to the Town of Cottesloe that they should fix this problem now. I mean it’s a bit strange that we have some of those plastic toilets sitting on the beach at Cottesloe. Come to my beach at Rockingham, which is the State’s premier beach, and you’ll see some beautiful toilet blocks funded by the local councils and ratepayers,” he said.
“They should just fix the situation, whether it’s repairing and keeping the toilets near the Indiana Teahouse… or build a new toilet block. I wouldn’t have thought it’s that hard.”
He said it was a “rubbish argument” for the town to suggest that because of the beach’s popularity and significance as a tourist destination it should not be required to fund public facilities.
“That is a rubbish argument, that is a ridiculous argument,” he said.
“Any council – and as I said I live near the beach in Rockingham – has a responsibility to provide public facilities and whether it’s a Cottesloe person going to the toilet or whether it’s someone from Armadale it’s still the council’s responsibility.”
His words come as Tourism Minister Paul Papalia described the closure of public toilets as “ridiculous” and pressured the council to sort it as a “priority”.