More pain on the way for regional WA as Labor refuses to cut city promises

The McGowan Government will continue to slash essential regional services such as education and health as it struggles under the weight of its Perth election promises, according to The Nationals Leader Mia Davies.

The Labor Government today announced the State deficit for 2017-18 will balloon out by another $265 million, despite the Budget being handed down just three months ago.

Alarmingly, Ms Davies said the McGowan Government still had no plan to tackle the State’s mounting debt pile.

“Labor’s grand plan to fix the finances centered around a gold tax which the Premier himself campaigned hard against just two years ago, saying it was ‘pointless’ and would cost jobs,” Ms Davies said.

“The real issue is Mark McGowan was so desperate to win power that he made $5 billion worth of election promises, many of which were Perth projects, with no plan to pay for them.

“This is starting to bite into the State’s bottom line and will result in more regional services being axed.”

Ms Davies said the Budget would continue to deteriorate until the Labor Government undertook meaningful Budget repair.

“All we’ve seen thus far is tinkering around the edges and attacks on parts of the community which can least afford it,” Ms Davies said.

“Labor’s devastating decision to close the School of the Air, dismantle residential colleges in Northam and Moora, shut school camps across the State, slash the Boarding Away from Home Allowance, pull the pin on the Laverton Hospital and cut the CPI increase to the Country Age Pensioner Fuel Card are just a small sample of this Government’s disdain for vulnerable regional West Australians.”

Ms Davies said the Labor Government had refused to consider The Nationals’ fair plan to update the 25c rental payment in BHP and Rio Tinto’s legacy iron ore agreements.

“The Treasurer has confirmed that if the gold royalty slug came to fruition, the gold sector would contribute $400 million extra for Budget repair over the next four years. Meanwhile, the iron ore industry will only kick in an extra $177 million,” Ms Davies said.

“This cannot be considered ‘sharing the pain’ when BHP recently announced an annual profit just shy of $6 billion. A breakdown of Rio Tinto’s Pilbara results reveals it was banking $US18.3 million profit per day in the first six months of 2017.

“The School of the Air and myriad other regional services could be saved if only the Labor Government was not afraid of having a hard conversation with the big iron ore miners.”

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