While the McGowan Government pops champagne in the city today to celebrate the Mid-Year Review figures, regional West Australians are wondering if the McGowan Government knows they exist.
The Nationals WA Leader Mia Davies said the Labor Government claims of good financial management were disingenuous, with record iron ore prices, GST top-ups and sale of Government assets bumping up the bottom line.
“A windfall of unexpected funding and raids on Royalties for Regions are the real reasons the Treasurer has delivered a surplus,” she said.
“For all the chest beating and high fives within Dumas House, the truth is this financial result was achieved by ripping off the regions.
“This government has shifted $1.6 billion from Royalties for Regions to leave money in the kitty and to pay for pet Perth projects like the $5.2 billion Metronet plan, which again blew out this week by almost $250 million under the Minister for Transport’s watch without a metre of track being laid.
“At the same time as it has callously siphoned funding from regional WA, the metro-centric McGowan Government has ramped up electricity, water and other cost-of-living charges for businesses and families already battling to survive.
“Our communities are feeling the pain and won’t forget the Treasurer is touching up the State’s books at their expense.”
Ms Davies said under McGowan Labor, Royalties for Regions was now a shadow of the program, which under The Nationals in government injected $7 billion into 3600 projects that drove economic development across the length and breadth of WA.
“Over the past 12 months the State’s treasury has enjoyed a $1 billion spike in iron ore royalties, a $250 million discrepancy payment from BHP, the partial sale of Landgate for $1.41 billion, $185 million from offloading shares in PEXA while it can also look forward to $200 million from selling the TAB,” she said.
“And there will be $3.8 billion in GST top-up payments over the next three years.
“Despite these windfalls the Premier remains the Christmas Grinch because he has put an axe through funding regional communities need and deserve. There was a $320 million underspend in the RfR budget last financial year.
“The Premier doesn’t mind taking the spoils from what comes out of the ground in rural WA but doesn’t want to help the towns and cities that drive those industries.”
Ms Davies said new funding announcements made between the State Budget in May and the Mid-Year Review were predominantly for city projects and were more evidence the McGowan Government was too focused on Perth and its suburbs.