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Labor splashes more cash on Metronet while the bush burns

“Metro Mark” McGowan will spend another bucket of taxpayer’s cash flaunting Labor’s pet Perth project while regional schools and hospitals cry out for urgent funds.

The Nationals WA spokesperson for “Metrodebt” Vince Catania said the Government had failed to convince the public of the virtues of its rail project so was now spending another $1.25 million to flog it.

“Meanwhile, students and staff at Hedland Senior High School are at risk of injury due to classrooms which are falling apart and elderly patients at Geraldton Hospital are being forced to lay on the floor because of a lack of beds,” Mr Catania said.

“The priorities of this metro-centric Government are completely out of whack when you consider the communities of Laverton, Tom Price, Meekatharra and Newman are all waiting on urgent hospital upgrades. Meanwhile the mental health system outside of Perth is at breaking point and Carnarvon cannot get money for its promised aged care facility. 

“When will Labor’s country MPs grow a spine, stand up to ‘Metro Mark’ and demand a fair share for regional West Australians?”

Just this month Treasurer Ben Wyatt announced 100 per cent of proceeds from the sale of the State Government’s shareholding in Property Exchange Australia (PEXA) would be spent on Metronet.

The McGowan Government has also flagged spending a sizable chunk of the increased revenue WA stands to receive from the newly installed GST floor on Metronet.

“The Government’s plan to pay for Metronet by ‘value capture’ has already been trashed by their own project manager. There are black holes appearing everywhere,” Mr Catania said.

“With the Public Transport Authority subsidy from Government heading towards $1 billion annually and patronage trending down, the burden on West Australians to fund Metronet’s planning, construction and services is only going to increase.

“The PTA subsidy figure is skyrocketing before five of the Metronet projects even get rolling – imagine what it will blow out to by 2025 when all new lines are operational.

“This Government is spending a fortune on their Perth election commitments while letting regional communities suffer – and then charging them for it.”

The Nationals WA Leader Mia Davies said the Government’s absence of a financial plan meant Labor was robbing regional WA to make up for its revenue shortfalls.

“Mark McGowan is using Royalties for Regions to fund core government services like water and TAFE subsidies, regional school bus services and teacher assistants and ending programs that have vastly improved outcomes for regional communities,” she said.

“That way he can free up money to fund city election commitments like Metronet.”