The McGowan Government has unveiled a multimillion dollar package for the Mid-West region as part of the WA Recovery Plan to drive economic and social recovery, and create a pipeline of local jobs.
The Mid-West Recovery Plan is focused on getting locals back to work and includes a significant investment in sectors including construction, manufacturing, tourism and hospitality, renewable energy, education and training, and agriculture.
It will deliver a pipeline of short and long term jobs supporting and strengthening our existing industries, as well as laying the foundation for jobs of the future.
As part of the McGowan Government’s $229 million TAFE package, the plan includes upgrades to TAFE infrastructure in the region, including:
- $2 million to Central Regional TAFE’s Geraldton campus to create more specialised art spaces for fashion design, jewellery making, multimedia and digital technologies;
- $4 million across the State to upgrade maritime training vessels at TAFEs including Central Regional TAFE’s Geraldton campus to ensure safety and training using modern maritime facilities to deliver industry relevant training programs in maritime operations, fishing operations, boating services, tourism and coxswains;
- $25 million for free TAFE short courses to upskill thousands of Western Australians, with a variety of free courses available at Central Regional TAFE’s Geraldton campus;
- $32 million to expand the Lower fees, local skills program and significantly reduce TAFE fees across 39 high priority courses; and
- $4.8 million across the State for the Apprenticeship and Traineeship Re-engagement Incentive that provides employers with a one-off payment of $6,000 for hiring an apprentice and $3,000 for hiring a trainee, whose training contract was terminated on, or after, March 1, 2020 due to the economic downturn.
The Mid-West Recovery Plan includes investment in infrastructure and industry to create opportunities for local businesses and jobs for local workers.
The McGowan Government’s revamped Buy Local policy will ensure local businesses are in the box seat to carry out this work. The plan includes:
- $400,000 for upgrades to classrooms at Allendale Primary School;
- $400,000 for upgrades to classrooms and student areas at Rangeway Primary School;
- $200,000 for upgrades to classrooms and student areas at Bluff Point Primary School;
- $100,000 for upgrades to classrooms and student areas at Geraldton Primary School;
- $10 million for Geraldton Port’s Wharf 4 Strengthening and Rail Replacement project that will upgrade a key piece of infrastructure and pave the way for long-term growth in mineral sands exports;
- funding to fast-track the design and construction of the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s Geraldton Marine Finfish Nursery and increase its production capability;
- $5 million to improve and increase roadside vegetation across the agricultural region to offset the impacts of roadworks aimed at making our roads safer;
- $18 million for the construction of a 75-bed Aboriginal short stay accommodation facility in Geraldton, providing temporary accommodation for Aboriginal people visiting Geraldton;
- $3.81 million to upgrade electricity infrastructure in remote communities across WA including Buttah Windee, making it safer and more reliable;
- $810,000 for upgrades at Dongara Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service;
- $2 million to provide water tanks to volunteer bushfire brigades across regional WA;
- $8 million through the Regional Road Safety Program to upgrade 76 kilometres of Mid-West roads with shoulder sealing and installation of audible lines, creating around 50 local jobs;
- $8 million to the Offsets Funds for Recovery program that creates green jobs by supporting conservation groups to carry out on-ground works such as fencing, seeding and planting across regional WA, including the Mid-West;
- $80 million across the State for targeted maintenance programs for regional social, remote and government workers’ housing properties, including approximately 100 homes across the Gascoyne and Mid-West regions;
- $141.7 million across the State to refurbish social housing across WA’s ageing housing stock, including approximately 80 homes in the Gascoyne and Mid-West regions; and
- $97 million to build new social housing including properties in the Gascoyne and Mid-West regions.
The plan also includes a significant investment in infrastructure and programs to drive tourism and create jobs. It includes:
- $3 million towards the construction of two new fast speed ferry jetties for passenger and commercial boats, including supporting new marine tourism ventures and tourism developments at the Houtman Abrolhos Islands;
- $1.58 million for upgrades to Geraldton Fishing Boat Harbour including upgrades to walkways, visitor facilities, fuel bowsers and street lights;
- $6 million for the Regional Aviation Recovery program to ensure affordable airfares for residents and tourists, including between Perth and Mid-West destinations, to stimulate visitation between July and October 2020;
- $3 million in total for regional aviation support to ensure a minimum level of service to regional locations including Mount Magnet, Wiluna and Meekatharra;
- $450,000 for upgrades to visitor facilities in national parks across the Geraldton and Murchison areas, including upgrades to the access road at Thundelarra Homestead and providing disabled access toilets in Karara Rangeland Park; and
- $50,000 for line marking on the Kalbarri Skywalk access road to guide overseas visitors to have a safe visit to Kalbarri National Park.
As well as supporting existing industries, the Mid-West Recovery Plan includes a focus on driving investment in renewable energy and new technologies to create sustainable jobs. It includes:
- installing Battery Energy Storage Systems to increase grid capacity and allow more customers to install rooftop solar systems and reduce their power bills, including $1.7 million for Wiluna and $600,000 for Yalgoo;
- $9.92 million for Horizon Power to deploy standalone power systems that use solar and battery technologies to generate and store electricity, making power safer and more reliable for regional customers, including approximately seven being installed across the Mid-West; and
- $10 million towards the Clean Energy Future Fund to invest in clean energy technologies.
The Mid-West region will also benefit from a range of State-wide programs included in the WA Recovery Plan. The full list of projects included in the plan can be viewed at https://inthistogether.wa.gov.au
As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:
“I thank each and every member of the Mid-West community for their efforts and sacrifices during the pandemic.
“We must remain vigilant, but our work to reduce the spread of COVID-19 means we are in a strong position to continue the process of recovery.
“The Mid-West Recovery Plan will drive economic and social recovery in the region to ensure it can recover stronger than ever.
“It will create a pipeline of short and long term jobs for locals and deliver huge improvements to local infrastructure and services.”
As stated by Fisheries Minister Peter Tinley:
“The Mid-West Recovery Plan will support a wide range of existing industries and help us to maximise opportunities to hit the ground running when normal trade and investment restarts.
“Initiatives under the regional recovery plan also have a focus on developing skills and building capacity for future jobs.
“Developing industries such as aquaculture, clean energy programs, improved transport infrastructure and tourism initiatives all have a part to play in protecting, creating and supporting jobs in the Mid-West and benefiting the broader community of WA.”