The Nationals WA have pointed to the McGowan Government’s pillaging of Royalties for Regions to pay for core government services as a key reason why the town of Collie is now being described by media as “on its knees”.
Leader Mia Davies said the McGowan Government had effectively cut $1 billion of Royalties for Regions over the next four years by cost-shifting RfR into programs that would normally be paid for by government departments; including:
- $79.9 million for orange school buses
- $134.7 million for regional TAFE subsidies
- $795.8 million for water subsidies
- $31.4 million for education assistants
“Two budgets in and the Labor Government has corrupted Royalties for Regions – it is no longer the program The Nationals fought so hard for,” Ms Davies said.
“The Treasurer has made it clear this is just another Government fund; a far cry from the program which drove a regional development agenda under The Nationals’ stewardship.”
Ms Davies said while in Government, The Nationals had identified Collie as one of nine regional SuperTowns to further develop the community and capitalise on investment and growth opportunities.
“One of Labor’s first acts upon coming to Government was to scrap SuperTowns,” Ms Davies said.
“We recognised Collie was undergoing rapid and sustained change and the SuperTowns strategy provided a broader view for the future.
“Through Royalties for Regions and SuperTowns we were assisting Collie to grow in terms of population, vibrancy and liveability, through employment creation initiatives, as well as creating new commercial and industrial opportunities.”
Colin Holt, The Nationals WA Member for South West, said the previous Liberal-National Government had done a mountain of work to prepare Collie for “what life could look like after coal”.
“In 2014 we handed down a blueprint for the future economic development of the South West, while in 2017 we released the Reimagining Collie report,” Mr Holt said.
“We identified several areas for growth in the Collie economy, including agriculture, tourism, aquaculture, forestry, health and aged care.
“This Labor Government then came in, drew a line through the Reimagining Collie report and decided to commission two new sub-committees to do the same work again.
“The time for reports is over. It’s time for the McGowan Government to get serious about Collie’s economic future and start doing the leg work to attract investment to this vital South West community.”