Regional development in Western Australia will grind to a halt over the next four years as the McGowan Government strips $861 million out of Royalties for Regions to fund core government services.
Nationals Leader Mia Davies said Treasurer Ben Wyatt’s first State Budget was “a declaration of war on regional Western Australians”.
“On top of raiding 20 per cent of Royalties for Regions to bankroll normal government expenditure, Labor has broken its promise not to increase taxes or the gold royalty rate,” Ms Davies said.
“Royalties for Regions was created by The Nationals to fund regional development projects and diversify regional economies.
“Instead, Mr Wyatt is raiding the program to plug holes in his Budget and pay for ongoing government services and infrastructure projects in transport, health, water and education.
“Royalties for Regions is dead in all but name. What’s worse, the money saved by using Royalties for Regions to pay for core government services is being ploughed back into Labor’s election promises – which have blown out by $1 billion in less than six months.”
Ms Davies said Labor’s unprecedented attack on the bush could be traced back to its lack of financial plan.
“Today’s cruel cuts throughout regional Western Australia will do nothing to assist the State’s finances, with debt predicted to blow out by $11 billion over the next four years,” Ms Davies said.
Since the election Labor has boasted it is the ‘party of the bush’ because it holds the most regional seats in the Parliament.
“Today that claim lays in tatters and Labor’s regional MPs have been exposed as imposters,” Ms Davies said. “For them to stand and applaud a Budget which discriminates against the constituents they profess to represent is treacherous.”
Ms Davies said raiding Royalties for Regions, increasing payroll tax, and slugging the gold sector would cost jobs and strangle regional development.
“Labor came to power promising to create jobs and reduce State debt,” Ms Davies said. “They have failed on both accounts.”