Brodie McCulloch is running to be the next Lord Mayor of Perth

Brodie McCulloch, the founder of Spacecubed is running to be the next Lord Mayor of Perth. If he wins he’d become the city’s first LGBTIQ+ Lord Mayor. The businessman has spent the last decade focusing on community building and creating start up businesses and he’s got some ideas on what needs to happen to make our city vibrant and the road to recovery.

Two years ago the state government removed the City of Perth Council and a report handed down this week said “greed, incompetence, and mismanagement” had flourished in the former council. Leigh Andrew Hill spoke to Brodie McCulloch on RTRFM’s All Things Queer program and asked him why he thought he was the guy to lead the city.

What made you want to enter this race to be the next Lord Mayor of Perth?

I set up Spacecubed almost 10 years ago now, and really set it up with the vision of empowering positive change through community, and it’s really achieving that. We’ve got a great team in Spacecubed who are really leading and growing the impact it has supporting thousands of small businesses, entrepreneurs and not-for-profits across WA.

I saw the role of Perth Lord Mayor as a great opportunity to use all of the skills I’ve built over the last ten years, and the relationships, working with state and federal governments, working with the business community, and also working with the not-for-profit sector to really have a large impact on where Perth heads next after it has just been through a really difficult time with COVID. The next few years are going to be particularly difficult so having someone who has that leadership experience is going to be really important.

Let’s talk through some of the issues that are being raised. Your pitch to voters is that you’ve got a plan to create a more vibrant city, what needs to be done to make Perth and Northbridge filled with businesses, and drawing in the people from the suburbs? 

Perth’s a great city, and when I set up ten years ago, it sort of still had a bad rep around there being not much to do, but that’s really dissipated over the last ten years. There’s huge amounts of things to do in Perth, a lot of events happening, but especially over the last two or three years there has been a big impact on the vibrancy, and that’s off the end of the economic crash we had six years ago.

There’s been a downward trend from an economic perspective, which means there’s less people in the city, less opportunities for things to happen. So with my background and what I’ve done around activating communities, I’d really focus on how we deliver that. How do we support entrepreneurs to come up with their ideas, support 1,000 ideas in the city. Not so much bigger projects, we’ve seen a lot of big infrastructure projects already happen in Perth with Elizabeth Quay and Yagan Square, it really is more about how do we activate what’s been built, and what are the opportunities to do that?

I’m a big fan of empowering entrepreneurs, and empowering creative people, so the arts. So how do we activate our local neighborhoods, the city hasn’t really looked at that. It’s starting to happen now, but that’s the focus I’d have – really supporting the community and doing what I’ve done at Spacecubed, which enabling the community to actually create the outcomes that they want. The Lord Mayor role, especially after what it’s been through, is about bringing people together and driving that collaboration.

One of the biggest issues in the city is coming up with a plan for homelessness, and we know that the LGBTIQ+ community faces disproportionate levels of homelessness, what would be your approach?

I’ve got a bit of personal experience with this from my own family, I would actually be the first Lord Mayor who is gay, and my partner – one of his family members has been through homelessness, it’s a really complex issue.

A lot of it does come down to drugs, sixty per cent of people who are homeless have been impacted by drugs and alcohol is some way. It requires everyone working together to create new opportunities. I’ve met with a number of the homelessness service providers over the last few weeks, and I’ve worked with them previously when I was really focused on social innovation and social impacts in Perth.

Their key message when I asked them, “What could the Lord Mayor do to have an impact?’  It really was around brining people together to come up with joint solutions to this. That’s WA Police, the state government and service providers. I’d be quick to respond and elevate that conversation and change the narrative around homelessness. It is the end opportunity, it’s not the beginning and brining all those collaborators together to actually have a joint impact is going to be key for the Lord Mayor to really promote and enable.    

Only a few years ago we had a Lord Mayor who was opposed to recognising and celebrating the LGBT community, if you’re successful you’ll be the first Lord Mayor who is gay -as you said. Does this make you different to the other candidates? 

It’s 20 years ago since the City of Perth actually had a referendum on whether it should support the Pride march in Perth. So I think things have already come a long way. I thin kwhat it does represent is the diversity of Perth, and that opportunity to present a really diverse representation to the world.

I am very keen also to encourage anyone who wants to run for council – to run for council. Shaping the city and shaping where it goes next, requires a range of opinions and ideas and backgrounds from the councilors and the leadership of the city. I think that’s something that is really important. Representing the city and its diversity is something I’d be honoured to do.

There’s been a lot of discussion this week about safety in the nightlife area, especially Northbridge, do you think there is a problem here, and how would you make Perth after-dark a more appealing and safe place? 

I do have to say, there is definitely some challenges around this. Cities go through sort of waves of challenges with nightlife, but it is important that have we have a vibrant and safe nightlife that people can go out and experience.

One of my key focusses is how can we create great experiences for people whether they are workers, or tourists or residents. Everyone needs a great experience when they come in to the city. Feeling safe and secure is at the bottom of that pyramid, people need to feel safe and secure to come in to the city.

Right now there’s a whole range of opportunities about the design of spaces, built responses – but then its also working closely with police and social service providers about identifying challenges before they come up, using data to see where potential hotspots are, and then being able to act on that more quickly.

Again, it comes around to that collaboration role that the Lord Mayor can play. Using the city’s infrastructure to build  and really have an impact, it’s got joint surveillance with the WA Police, but making sure there are more people in the city also reduces the amount of anti-social behaviour. So that’s where creating opportunities for new events, activation within the city, will help a lot over the medium term to reduce the chances of incidents.

When discussion of local government come up people often say it is about rates, rubbish bins and roads, but this conversation certainly expanded during the marriage equality debate when councils were showing their support for marriage equality, where do you draw the line of responsibility?

Local governments have, and especially capital city local governments – I mean look at the City of Melbourne, in the last 5-10 years who have really helped galvanize the city and create a brand which they can project to the rest of the world. I think local governments can play a bigger role, but at the same time, it’s really about working with the state government to work out where you can leverage opportunities for that global exposure.

There’s the City of Pert Act, there’s actually been an act created, where the Mayor and the Premier have to meet with each other twice a year, to discuss the opportunities for the capital city of Western Australia. I think cities really do have, their time’s sort of now, we’re the fastest growing region in the world, post COVID, once travel comes back up, there is huge opportunities for Perth to be the most secure and safe place for people to work remotely in the world. With all the turmoil that happening overseas in Hong Kong and the US there are huge opportunities around how do we attract Asia-Pacific head offices to Perth.

All of these things combined, the City of Perth can play a really active role in, but that’s always in partnerships. This is where the Lord Mayor’s role really comes into it’s own. It’s about how do you create those partnerships, across state government, with businesses, with the non-for-profit sector, to get better outcomes. The City of Perth is not there to do it alone, it’s there to work with the community, work with residents to create better results.

You’re busy and successful in your current role – and this something that has come up with other candidates for Lord Mayor. Will being Lord Mayor be an addition to your current role or does something have to give? 


I’ve stepped out of my day to day role at Spacecubed and I would be a fulltime Lord Mayor focused on implementing the range of recommendations from the inquiry, but also we’ve got real short term challenges around recovery from COVID, and then medium term it’s about how do we create a vision for the city that we really are excited about projecting to the rest of the world, and capitalising on those opportunities.

You touched on the report, a report from an inquiry into the former council was released yesterday, and as you say, it says former councilors made improper use of the perks of their positions, using those benefits of office to build their own businesses, treat friends and family to lavish meals. The report quotes “greed, incompetence, and mismanagement”. How will you ensure that never happens again?

My background, I’ve been on a number of boards, I have my Governance Institute of Australia certificate, I’ve done the legwork around governance, in my own business I’ve created positive cultures, not just for the business, but for whole communities of entrepreneurs, and non-for-profits, and small businesses.

When I was reading through the report, there was a number of procedural things, that I think may have already been corrected, but the big challenge has been that leadership from the top and setting an example. Setting a culture of responsibility and just doing the right thing, it appears to just not have been there, and when it was challenged – change was not an acceptable thing.

So my role would really be to work closely with the CEO to make sure the recommendations of the report are implemented, and there’s 341 of those, so there is a lot of work to do. But at the same time it’s about setting a vision for the city, working with the other councilors in a collaborative way,  and making sure everyone is one the same page, and clearly understands their roles and responsibilities. It’s not the Mayor’s job to be the CEO, and vice-versa.

It’s really about understanding those relationships, and my background I’ve got a good understanding of that having been both a CEO and a Director of companies. That’s a big part of it, but I think for me, it really all boils down to culture, and creating a culture of trying things, of responsibility, accountability, and people owning the results of what they do. That appears to have not happened, and that just cascaded over a number of years.

It’s big job, it is a fulltime job, and working with the CEO to deliver that would be my priority.

Find about more about Brodie McCulloch at 

Leigh Andrew Hill 

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