The Western Australian government has targeted responsible financial management and expense growth in a bid to return the state to surplus.
Premier Mark McGowan and Treasurer Ben Wyatt said during Thursday’s Budget the government’s efforts to repair the State’s finances and return WA to surplus would be fairly distributed across the State’s community, including public and corporate sectors.
“Tough decisions have been made and not all will be popular,” Mr Wyatt said.
“There was $1,673 in total public sector net debt for every person in the State at 30 June 2008. At June 30 2017, that had grown to $12,592.”
“The scale of the mess left behind by the Liberals and Nationals means everyone across the community will need to share the load of repairing the Budget.”
Big businesses will be hardest hit, with large corporations footing an extra 6 per cent if their payroll exceeds $100 million.
Gold miners will also be targeted, with miners facing a tiered gold royalty rate determined by the gold price.
The government has also limited its spending for the next financial year to 2.4 per cent to encourage low spending across four years.
WA Economy Expected to Grow
The State Government said good news is on the way for WA, with its economy expected to grow by 3 per cent in the next financial year.
Nearly 20,000 jobs expected to be created as part of its Plan for Jobs, expected to encourage investment into science, technology, manufacturing, tourism, services, education, agriculture.
The government will invest significant funding into key job-creating initiatives including schools and local projects.
Its Metronet is also expected to create thousands of jobs throughout each project with an expected $1.34 million to be injected into the project.
There will also be no forced redundancies across the public sector, despite aiming to produce better services at a lower cost as part of its public sector reform.
The State Government will also invest in creating safer communities in WA with the government providing $83.5 million to cut methamphetamine coming onto WA shores, along with $48.2 for a coordinated and targeted Methamphetamine Action Plan.
$12.4 million will be provided to prevent family and domestic violence, $7.3 million for a mental health facility in Kalgoorlie and $13.2 million for specialised mental health programs in schools.
Funding will remain for the Royalties for Regions program with the government to continuing to finance it despite claims the program is in jeopardy.
Mr Wyatt said the measures are necessary.
“It is a budget for Western Australians to be owned by Western Australians,” he said
“This Budget lays the foundation for returning our State to a position of strength.”
Budget a “Betrayal of Every Single Western Australian”
However, Opposition Leader Mike Nahan said the budget was a budget of betrayal and broken promises.
“Mark McGowan promised unequivocally he would not increase taxes and he would not introduce new taxes,” he said.
“But the government is bringing in two new taxes and increasing payroll tax and gold royalties.”
“There is no excuse and no justification for this.”
Shadow Treasurer Dean Nalder said Labor did not follow through on its promises.
“The foundation of Mr McGowan’s election campaign were his promises to pay down debt and not introduce taxes,” he said.
“His failure to deliver on those fundamental promises is a betrayal of every single Western Australian.”