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Wyatt’s budget is rotten at the core

The McGowan Government continues to raid Royalties for Regions to pay for day-to-day government services.

Leader Mia Davies has slammed Treasurer Ben Wyatt for a smoke-and-mirrors Budget which seeks to build a surplus on the back of cost-shifting more than $1 billion of core services into Royalties for Regions over the next four years.

Labor will use RfR funding to pay for water subsidies, school bus services, regional TAFE subsidies and education assistants.

“The more you peel away the layers of this Budget the more rotten the deal gets for regional West Australians,” Ms Davies said.

“By 2021-22 around one-third of the entire Royalties for Regions fund will be used to pay for water subsidies which, prior to Labor coming to power, always came out of day-to-day expenditure.

“Labor will raid RfR to the tune of $80 million per year to keep regional orange buses running in the bush.

“This is not what Royalties for Regions was created for. The safe transportation of children to and from school is a core government responsibility and should be funded by the Transport budget.”

Ms Davies said by ripping money out of RfR to pay for day-to-day services, Labor was freeing up money in the rest of the Budget to spend on pet city projects and feed the hungry mouths of their metro-dominated partyroom.

“Meanwhile funding earmarked to develop our regional economies and build new industries in country WA - the reason for which Royalties for Regions was created by The Nationals - dries up and regional development comes to a grinding halt,” she said.

Ms Davies said the Budget was predicated on a lie because Labor failed to commit any State funding to big chunks of Metronet, including the much vaunted Ellenbrook line. She said the Government had also booked unrealistic reductions in spending growth.

“Alarmingly, the Government is yet to outline a plan to put a meaningful dent in State debt,” Ms Davies said.

“The minor reduction in projected debt announced today is a falsehood when you consider Metronet is still not funded.

“The Nationals remain committed to our policy which would see the State’s two biggest iron ore miners pay a modest increase in the special lease rental contained in their legacy State Agreements. This would raise more than $7 billion over the next four years.”

Ms Davies said regional communities were devastated that Labor’s heartless decision to close Moora Residential College, shut down regional camp school and slash funding for Community Resource Centres remained stained on the Budget papers.

“As predicted, the Government is relying on households and small businesses to do the heavy lifting in order to fix the Budget,” she said.