In a continuation of Perth’s ‘Tent City’ saga, the McGowan Government is now reportedly refusing to pay for the accommodation it allegedly put rough sleepers in following the destruction of the camp in Fremantle earlier in the year.

Owners of Perth City Apartment Hotel say the bill for the hotel rooms now reaches up to $37,000. They said they now need to move the rough sleepers out of the hotel because, as a family-run business, they simply cannot afford to keep losing income.

Eddie Kamil from Perth City Apartment Hotel told NIT the homeless people who are occupying their rooms are almost all Indigenous, including new mothers, pregnant women, families, young children and people in wheelchairs.

The hotel said 11 to 13 rooms have been occupied since January 23 when Tent City was brought down.

“For years we have had a range of homeless service providers including the Department of Communities, Wungening Aboriginal Corporation, RUAH, Uniting WA and others who put their clients at this hotel,” the hotel said in a statement.

Through their own research, Perth City Apartment Hotel claims people who were brought to the hotel following the Tent City destruction were residents of the Fremantle camp.

Premier Mark McGowan has since said publicly those who had booked the rooms are not rough sleepers, but rather “activists”. Something that Eddie Kamil rubbished when speaking directly to NIT.

“That’s not true,” Kamil said. “All these people are from Tent City – they’re all homeless.”

The Premier also said the rooms “were not booked by the State Government”.

But Kamil claimed this was also untrue, saying the Government had said they would pay for the rooms.

A spokesperson from the Department of Communities denied this claim.

“Neither Communities or any of its community service organisation partners were consulted in relation to this booking and the private client remains responsible for this expense,” the spokesperson said.

The Department said they did not use the Perth City Apartment Hotel to relocate people from Pioneer Park and that the 11 rooms were booked and supported by Jesse Noakes, a homelessness advocate and former spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion.

The statement did, however, confirm that the Department had assisted four people who had been at the hotel in question into alternative accommodation. This included two individuals judged to be particularly vulnerable, who had been booked into the hotel by Noakes.

Noakes, speaking to The West Australian, denied he had booked homeless people into Perth City Apartment Hotel or promised payment for them.

This incident follows the Labor Government’s election promise to provide a new 100-bed homeless facility on Wellington Street, at a property which has been up for sale; with a confirmed sale set to go through in coming days.

Jesse Noakes has been contacted for comment.

By Aaron Bloch