Strong State Budget securing Pilbara’s future

  • State Budget delivers record $12 billion infrastructure investment in regional WA
  • Major $158.3 million boost to regional health and mental health
  • Significant cost of living relief, saving regional households hundreds of dollars
  • More than $4.2 billion delivered through Royalties for Regions
  • The McGowan Labor Government is setting the Pilbara up for the long-term, diversifying the economy and creating jobs, boosting regional health and mental health, 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.

    WA’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 Rapid Antigen Tests 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 funding 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 country 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 Pilbara residents will pay no more than $299 each way for flights to and from Perth and Karratha, Newman, Port Hedland and Paraburdoo, when booked as return flights.

    The 2022-23 Budget will continue the McGowan Government’s work to diversify the Pilbara economy, create local jobs and support tourism, and includes:

    • $78.1 million to upgrade Lumsden Point at the Port of Port Hedland;
    • $15 million to undertake dredging to facilitate additional capacity at the Port of Port Hedland;
    • $9.3 million for an access bridge at Murujuga National Park, plus a further $1.6 million for the Murujuga Rock Art Strategy, including two Aboriginal Rangers;
    • $21.1 million boost towards Tourism WA’s Destination Marketing to encourage tourists to come to WA and travel across the State;
    • $17.7 million to Tourism WA towards developing 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;
    • $6 million to Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia to pursue strategic research opportunities, including critical minerals and clean energy technologies;
    • $5 million to the Centre for Decommissioning Australia to support the development of an LNG decommissioning industry in WA;
    • bringing regional road maintenance jobs in-house to Main Roads, securing 490 jobs in regional WA, including a new depot in Karratha and upgrades to the Port Hedland depot;
    • $11.5 million to replace the fisheries patrol vessel Walcott that supports the management of marine parks and offshore commercial fisheries of WA’s northern coastline; and
    • $4.5 million boost to the Local Capability Fund to assist local businesses to increase their capability and competitiveness.

    The McGowan Government’s significant investment in regional health and mental health continues, with:

    • $10 million to deliver specialist paediatric, cancer, haematology, stroke and neurology services at the Karratha Health Campus and surrounding sites;
    • additional $1.6 million for the Karratha Step Up/Step Down service to address construction cost pressures, bringing the total cost to $8.8 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 Pilbara;
    • $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; and
    • $6.1 million funding boost to the Preventing Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder project.

    The State Budget also includes important investment in education and training for young people in the Pilbara, including:

    • $5.5 million to extend the Driving Access and Equity Program that assists young people in the Pilbara to obtain a driver’s licence and boost employment prospects;
    • $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 person protective equipment supplies, and Rapid Antigen Test distribution.

    The 2022-23 State Budget brings continued investment in regional roads and transport projects, including:

    • $50 million for the new Great Northern Highway Newman to Port Hedland overtaking lanes;
    • $40 million of additional funding for the $76 million Port Hedland Airport Deviation project;
    • $120 million to continue the Marble Bar Road upgrades;
    • $4.1 million to expand the Inter-Regional Flight Network across the Mid-West, Pilbara and Kimberley, including a new route between Karratha and Geraldton, with operator Aviair planning to upgrade aircraft, increasing capacity and helping improve affordability;
    • an additional $159 million to the Regional Road Safety Program, bringing the total cost of the program to $828 million, which this program has already delivered by upgrading shoulders and installing audible edges to more than 752 kilometres of Pilbara roads;
    • about $200 million for the Resealing Program in regional WA;
    • $146 million for the Safer Roads and Bridges 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 Pilbara communities are kept safe and strong, with important investments in:

    • Keystart, including an increase to the Pilbara property price cap from $650,000 to $750,000 to assist households in gaining access to finance;
    • $19.1 million for the development of new residential land in two regional locations, including Karratha;
    • additional $5.5 million for the Port Hedland Voluntary Buy-back Scheme;
    • $2.5 million towards Operation Regional Shield to tackle youth crime in regional WA;
    • $2.5 million to expand the successful Target 120 program to Karratha and Newman;
    • $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 to ensure critical information in emergency situations is more easily accessible;
    • $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 across regional WA;
    • additional $2 million to Community Resource Centres to help provide important services to regional communities; and
    • an additional $2.5 million for the Banned Drinkers Register trial.

    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 Pilbara’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 Pilbara 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 Pilbara, 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 job-creating investment in resources, tourism and emerging industries.

    “Our record investment in regional infrastructure, ongoing commitment to Royalties for Regions and quality service delivery will ensure the Pilbara 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 Pilbara communities.

    “We are working hard to support and grow established sectors like resources and primary industries, while providing important investment so the Pilbara can capitalise on new economic opportunities.

    “Our record investment in regional infrastructure and strong focus on country health and economic diversification is making sure the Pilbara is well placed to prosper into the future.”

    As stated by Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel:

    “This Budget provides continued support to the Pilbara’s resources sector. Our local industry has helped power the State and the nation through the pandemic, and this Budget makes sure the sector is supported to continue creating local jobs for local people.

    “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.”

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