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Death knell sounds for Royalties for Regions: Rundle

For more information, contact Peter Rundle Rundle (Member for Roe).

Labor’s disdain for Roe was laid bare in State Parliament this week as the Premier again refused to confirm funding for important Royalties for Regions projects.

The Nationals WA brought a motion to the Legislative Assembly in an attempt to end Labor’s toying with regional communities, many of which have been left in the lurch over a long list of projects the State Government has spurned.

Member for Roe Peter Rundle MLA said Labor are creating uncertainty and chaos in regional WA by refusing to commit to essential Royalties for Regions projects.

“The Regional Development Minister has rebuffed The Nationals at every turn, responding to MP’s questions that everything is ‘under review’,” Mr Rundle said.

“Given the Government has, in fact, committed to some Royalties for Regions programs, such as regional GP incentives, any project listed as ‘under review’ must now be considered to be on death’s door, including the Esperance Indoor Sports Stadium and numerous other projects.

“Communities, local governments and associations in Roe are now helplessly waiting by the phone for the call that their funding has been axed.”

Member for Agricultural Region Hon Colin de Grussa MLC said at least 15 aged care projects across the State faced the chop, despite Cabinet approval during the previous term of Government and being included in Regional Investment Blueprints.

“When The Nationals were in Government, a $134 million commitment was made to fund a significant number of aged care units across regional Western Australia,” Mr de Grussa said.

“This investment is now in limbo despite commitments made to each community. Meanwhile, Labor has not hesitated to get shovels in the ground for Metronet and other pet city projects.”

This week’s motion took aim at Treasurer Ben Wyatt who is considering using Royalties for Regions to fund the tariff equalisation contribution (TEC), a levy placed on residents connected to the South West Interconnected System (SWIS) to ensure those outside the SWIS pay the same for electricity.

“Funding the TEC with Royalties for Regions means $150 million will need to be ripped from the program each year,” Mr Rundle said.

“Labor made a conscious decision to go to the March election without any plan to reduce debt because it was so desperate to win power.

"Now in government, Mr Wyatt has found that the state of the finances will not allow Labor to fund their $5 billion worth of election commitments so they’re looking for an easy cut. That easy cut is Royalties for Regions.”