The McGowan Labor Government is delivering on its plan to keep the Agricultural Region strong, with the State Budget investing billions to create quality local jobs, fund a pipeline of infrastructure works and deliver key services such as health and education.
The 2021-22 State Budget delivers a strong surplus which enables the McGowan Government to deliver major investments for all Western Australians – including infrastructure, hospital and mental health services, social housing and climate action initiatives.
The Budget includes a record $9.1 billion investment in regional infrastructure and $4.2 billion through Royalties for Regions, including $627 million in regional election commitments and other new regional initiatives.
It includes ongoing support for vital services across regional WA, including $463 million for regional school bus services, and $2 billion to subsidise regional electricity and water costs to keep charges in line with what metropolitan users pay.
Regional WA will benefit from a share of the $374 million State-wide investment in Aboriginal well-being.
Delivering the Plan for the Agricultural Region, the McGowan Government has allocated further support for jobs, TAFE, health, schools, regional roads, tourism and community facilities.
The 2021-22 State Budget will continue efforts to revitalise WA’s TAFE and training sector, with a $198 million investment per annum in regional WA over the next four years, including:
- Continuing the Lower fees, local skills program, which has seen a 22 per cent increase in enrolments in the Wheatbelt in 2021;
- Delivering $9.1 million at Muresk Institute for a specialist centre for agricultural mechanisation, plus a new industry standard shearing shed;
- Delivering $2 million for Central Regional TAFE’s Northam campus for an upgraded workshop;
- $25 million to WA TAFEs for new state-of-the-art equipment;
- $29.8 million to provide 8,000 additional VET places in schools across WA, on top of an additional 1,350 VET places introduced in 2021;
- $19.2 million VET career taster program for Year 9 students; and
- $37 million towards the Employer Incentive Scheme in regional WA.
The McGowan Government will continue to focus on delivering high-quality healthcare for all Western Australians, regardless of where they live, including:
- $1.9 billion boost to health and mental health to improve services throughout WA, including more doctors and nurses in the regions;
- $4.2 million to fund the operating costs of the adult public dental clinic at Narrogin Regional Hospital
- The Agricultural Region will share in $2 million to support the work of regional renal support teams;
- $19.7 million for enhanced support for the Patient Assisted Travel Scheme (PATS), increasing the accommodation subsidy to $100 per night, and increasing escort eligibility for people from vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, including women travelling to give birth;
- $10.9 million to the Royal Flying Doctor Service to upgrade aircraft engines;
- $17.6 million towards social and emotional well-being services for Aboriginal people in the regions;
- $9.2 million to extend Strong Spirit Strong Mind; and
- An additional 2.5 paid paramedics in Merredin and 2.5 in Narrogin.
The McGowan Government will continue its strong investment in job-creating projects to drive economic development and tourism, including:
- $100 million investment in the Investment Attraction and New Industries Fund;
- $120 million investment for more than 120 frontline officers to speed up project approvals;
- $19.8 million across the State to make air travel for regional residents more affordable;
- $200 million to improve agricultural supply chains by upgrading the State’s freight transport network, including $22 million for grain freight upgrades at Moora, Brookton, Broomehill and Cranbrook;
- $14.6 million will be spent over the next three years to replace cladding on an iron ore shed at Esperance Port;
- $10.1 million towards the Processed Oats Industry Growth Partnership, which aims to double the value of the oat grain industry in WA over the next 20 years;
- $15 million for the Agriculture Climate Resilience Fund;
- $15.1 million to strengthen WA’s biosecurity capabilities;
- $3 million towards the Wine Industry Export Growth Partnership;
- $12.1 million to implement the regional component of the Jina: Western Australian Aboriginal Tourism Action Plan 2021-25;
- $45 million to expand the Aboriginal Rangers Program;
- Continuing the successful $40 million Regional Economic Development grants program, which since 2018 has invested over $2.2 million in Wheatbelt projects, helping to create over 312 local jobs; and
- $12.9 million boost to regional arts programs.
The State Budget also includes important investment in quality education for young people in the regions, including:
- $1.5 billion will be spent each year to provide regional students with a quality education, in addition to $427.5 million over the next four years for refurbishments, upgrades and new builds for regional primary and secondary schools;
- $5.8 million for new STEM classrooms at Northam, Esperance and Narrogin senior high schools, and at Merredin College and to transform classrooms at Central Midlands and Katanning senior high schools into STEM classrooms;
- $2 million to transform existing classrooms into high school science classrooms at Bruce Rock, Kellerberrin, Mukinbudin, Narembeen and Quairading district high schools;
- Primary school science classrooms and/or equipment at Gingin, Wongan Hills, Boddington, Dongara, Toodyay and Wagin district high schools, and at Merredin College; and
- Transformed science classrooms for primary and secondary students at Beverley, Brookton, Cunderdin, York, Dalwallinu, Jurien Bay, Northampton, Gnowangerup and Kojonup district high schools.
After delivering record investment in regional roads over the past four years, the McGowan Government will oversee another significant investment into regional roads, including:
- $4.5 billion for major projects and road upgrades throughout regional WA
- $275 million for the Great Northern Highway – Bindoon Bypass upgrades;
- $250 million for upgrades to Great Eastern Highway at Coates Gully, between Walgoolan to Southern Cross, and between Ghooli to Benari;
- $55 million to upgrade Indian Ocean Drive between Jurien Bay and Brand Highway;
- An additional $88 million to upgrade sections of the Wheatbelt Secondary Freight Routes, bringing the total cost of works to $187.5 million;
- $2.5 million for road upgrades in the Koojan region within the shires of Moora and Dandaragan; and
- Over $79 million through the Regional Road Safety Program to upgrade more than 850 kilometres of Wheatbelt roads with safety treatments.
The Agricultural Region will share in a $9.7 million allocation to employ 20 staff, to assist in the mammoth recovery effort from Tropical Cyclone Seroja, in addition to the $104.5 million of joint Commonwealth-State recovery funding already made available.
For more information, visit https://www.ourstatebudget.wa.gov.au
As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:
“My Government’s responsible financial management is enabling us to invest in the regions to keep the Agricultural Region strong – creating local jobs, building a pipeline of infrastructure works and supporting vital services like health and education.
“We’re funding our Plan for the Agricultural Region to keep the regional economy growing, while delivering on our election commitments for the local community.
“Our WA Jobs Plan preferences Western Australians for local jobs first, as we work to diversify the regional economy in the Agricultural Region, attract investment and build a skilled workforce for the future.
“The 2021-22 State Budget is working to deliver a strong and vibrant region, with quality local services that give people every reason to live, work and raise a family in the Agricultural Region.”
As stated by Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
“Our Government is continuing to build strong and resilient regional communities, working to diversify our regional economies and create local jobs.
“We are delivering on our election commitments, and helping our regions to embrace future opportunities and 21st century industries.”