Fremantle’s sustainability drive is starting to pay dividends, with the Western Australian state government launching an expression of interest for the provision of up to 20,000 square metres of A Grade office space in the centre of the city.

The move is being driven by a need to upgrade underperforming office stock, particularly the Department of Housing’s East Perth premises, which Premier Colin Barnett has described as “too old” and “no longer functional”.

Mr Barnett said the move to decentralise the government’s operations away from the Perth CBD would also bring benefits “including improving community access to services, boosting local economies and helping reduce road congestion in the Perth CBD”.

“The State Government remains focused on having a presence in the Fremantle area on the condition that it represents real value for money,” he said.

“We are looking for competitive options that represent considerable cost savings as well as an improved quality of modern office accommodation.”

One criteria is that the office space be within 600 metres of a train station.

“Fremantle is an important metropolitan centre, with many community attributes including good rail access,” finance minister Bill Marmion said. “That is why we are focusing on potential office accommodation within walking distance of the train station.”

Fremantle Council welcomed the plan, saying it would provide over 1000 jobs for the area and honoured a commitment made in 2012.

“I applaud the state government for making good on its commitment to move part of its workforce here and to become an active participant in Fremantle’s ongoing revitalisation, which has steadily gained momentum over the past couple of years,” Fremantle mayor Dr Brad Pettitt said.

“The City currently has over $1.3b of investment in the pipeline and a large government department moving to Fremantle will help kick things along even more – this is an investment in Fremantle’s future.”

The EOI will be open until September 1, 2015, with practical completion delivered by mid-2019.