The McGowan Labor Government is setting the Mid-West up for the long-term – diversifying the economy and creating jobs, boosting regional health and mental health investment, and providing important cost-of-living relief for local households.
The 2022-23 State Budget includes a record $12 billion investment in regional infrastructure – only eight per cent of which is being delivered through Royalties for Regions.
Royalties for Regions expenditure is more than $4.2 billion over the next four years, and includes $263 million in regional election commitments and other new initiatives.
Western Austrlia’s strong financial position also gives the State Government the capacity to boost regional health and mental health investment by $158.3 million – in addition to $1.6 billion of State-wide COVID-19 response and recovery measures, including free RATs for regional communities.
Cost of living support includes the $400 Household Electricity Credit for WA households across the State, which will see household fees and charges decline by 3.8 per cent – the third consecutive year fees and charges have been kept below projected inflation.
More than $2 billion will be invested to keep regional water and electricity costs in line with what metropolitan users pay.
A total $541.3 million will be invested to continue to fund regional school bus services around the State, with $48.6 million to establish the Regional Digital Connectivity Program to improve mobile and internet coverage in the country.
About $1.5 billion per year will be invested to provide regional students with access to quality education – including $349.2 million for refurbishments, upgrades and new builds at regional primary and secondary schools over the next four years.
Regional WA TAFEs will share in around $200 million a year for vocational education and training, career and employment advice, and TAFE support services.
To keep the community safe, more than $410 million a year will be invested in WA Police’s regional districts.
The McGowan Government’s Australian-first cap on regional airfares begins July 1, delivering on a major election commitment to make airfares more affordable for regional residents.
The cap means Mid-West residents will pay no more than $199 for flights to and from Perth and Geraldton, Meekatharra and Mount Magnet, when booked as return flights.
The 2022-23 Budget will continue the McGowan Government’s work to diversify the Mid-West economy, create local jobs and support tourism, and includes:
- $332 million for a major upgrade of Geraldton Port;
- $21.1 million boost to Tourism WA’s Destination Marketing to encourage tourists to come to WA and travel across the State;
- $17.7 million to Tourism WA to develop new tourism experiences in WA’s national parks;
- additional $80 million to the Investment Attraction Fund to attract new industries and economic diversification across the State, bringing the total to $180 million;
- additional $50 million to the Industrial Land Development Fund, to develop industrial ready land across the State, bringing the total to $100 million;
- $25 million for the Western Australia Agricultural Collaboration to grow agriculture research and development in WA;
- $12 million for the WA-Array seismic survey to unlock new mineral deposits and job creating opportunities around the State;
- $4.5 million boost to the Local Capability Fund to assist local businesses to increase their capability and competitiveness; and
- bringing regional road maintenance jobs in-house to Main Roads, creating 490 jobs in regional WA, including upgrading the Geraldton depot.
The McGowan Government’s significant investment in regional health and mental health continues, with:
- additional $49.4 million for the Geraldton Health Campus redevelopment, bringing the total cost of the project to $122.7 million;
- $30.1 million for 18 additional paramedics and six ambulances across regional WA, delivering on a key election commitment;
- $11 million to ensure there is a nurse 24/7 at emergency departments, including in the Mid-West;
- $18.5 million to expand Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services across regional WA;
- $5.1 million to continue the Mental Health Emergency Telehealth Service to ensure regional residents can access mental health services;
- $5 million for upgrades to health staff accommodation, including in the Mid-West; and
- $6.1 million funding boost to the Preventing Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder project.
The State Budget includes important investment in education and training for young people in the Mid-West, including:
- up to $1.6 million as part of the Disaster Recovery Construction Training Grant incentive to support training of construction workers engaged in reconstruction following Tropical Cyclone Seroja;
- $113.1 million of fee reductions will be achieved in regional WA through the successful Lower fees, local skills initiative;
- $2.4 million to attract international students to live and study in regional WA, addressing skills needs in aged care, disability services, childcare, hospitality and tourism;
- $4.5 million for a new tool rebate to support building and construction apprentices and trainees in their purchase of trade-related tools and safety equipment;
- $5.1 million for a wage-gap program to support the new apprenticeship pathway and boost civil construction skills; and
- $42.5 million for State-wide COVID-19 measures in schools, including enhanced cleaning programs, mask and PPE supplies, and Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) distribution.
The 2022-23 State Budget brings continued investment in regional roads and transport projects, including:
- $36 million Mid West and Great Southern Secondary Freight Network Program;
- $4.1 million to expand the Inter-Regional Flight Network across the Mid-West, Pilbara and Kimberley – including a new route between Geraldton and Karratha – with operator Aviair planning to upgrade its aircraft on the network, which will increase capacity and help improve affordability;
- an additional $159 million to the Regional Road Safety Program, bringing the total cost of the program to $828 million. This program has already delivered upgraded shoulders and installed audible edges to more than 576 kilometres of Mid-West roads;
- around $200 million for the Resealing Program in regional WA;
- almost $60 million for the Clean Energy Car Fund; and
- $1.5 million to expand the Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) taxi service grant scheme, including a new Regional WAV Taxi Service Grant Scheme to expand taxi services to people of all abilities in regional WA.
The 2022-23 State Budget will ensure Mid-West communities are kept safe and strong, with important investments including:
- $4.2 million in additional funding for disaster recovery efforts, including for Tropical Cyclone Seroja;
- $640,000 to co-design a service model for Aboriginal Short Stay Accommodation services, including in Geraldton;
- $1.2 million to complete the Northampton Lead Tailings Project and to assess two other abandoned mine sites in Northampton;
- $350 million Remote Communities Fund to support improved water, electricity and municipal services, and increase supply of appropriate housing in remote Aboriginal communities;
- $11 million for a Large Air Tanker to be permanently based in regional WA during bushfire season for the first time;
- $15.9 million upgrade to the Emergency WA website;
- $2.5 million to towards Operation Regional Shield, to tackle youth crime in regional WA;
- $3.9 million to upgrade the Direct Brigade Alarms Network across WA;
- $3.1 million for the Bushfire Framework Review to improve bushfire preparedness;
- $99.4 million for Government Regional Officers’ Housing (GROH) across regional WA; and
- an additional $2 million to Community Resource Centres.
For more information, visit https://www.ourstatebudget.wa.gov.au
As stated by Premier and Treasurer Mark McGowan:
“The State Budget is investing in the Mid-West’s future – diversifying the regional economy, keeping WA fair and creating local jobs for the long term.
“WA’s strong financial position enables us to provide important cost of living support for Mid-West families, while continuing to pay down debt and keep the State’s finances healthy.
“We are providing a major boost to regional health and mental health, ensuring there are more doctors, nurses and resources in the Mid-West, with continued funding to manage COVID-19.
“The WA Jobs Plan is working to support thousands of new jobs in regional WA, with millions of dollars in job-creating investment in agriculture, resources and emerging industries.
“Our record investment in regional infrastructure, ongoing commitment to Royalties for Regions and quality service delivery will ensure the Mid-West continues to be a terrific place to live.”
As stated by Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
“The State Government is continuing to focus on strengthening and diversifying opportunities for Mid-West communities.
“We are working hard to support and grow established sectors like resources and primary industries, while providing important investment so the Mid-West can capitalise on new economic opportunities.
“Our record investment in regional infrastructure and strong focus on regional health and economic diversification is making sure the Mid-West is well placed to prosper into the future.”
As stated by Geraldton MLA Lara Dalton:
“This State Budget brings additional funding to upgrade Geraldton Port, continues to deliver the Geraldton Hospital upgrades, and enables a new flight route between Geraldton and the State’s north – projects I have been advocating for over the past 12 months – as well as a range of other commitments to set our region up for the long term, and into the future
“Our Government’s careful financial management is enabling strong investment in local health, police and schools – as well as continued cost of living relief to help with the household budget.”