The Nationals WA have called on both major parties to be clear and candid about their future plans for Royalties for Regions – following statements made by Premier Colin Barnett and members of both major parties around the future of the regional fund.
Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region Dave Grills MLC said the people of regional Western Australia deserved an honest answer ahead of the 2017 State Election.
“It’s becoming increasingly clear that the major parties are seeking to revise Royalties for Regions and wind back spending in the country to fund projects in the Perth metro area,” he said.
“If Colin Barnett or Mark McGowan plan to repeal Royalties for Regions or make significant changes, they owe it to the people of regional WA to share those plans well ahead of the election so people can make an informed decision when they cast their vote.”
The Royalties for Regions program was created and implemented by The Nationals WA in 2008, and has gone on to deliver $6.1 billion into more than 3,600 projects across regional WA.
“Without a dedicated government program focused solely on delivering better health, infrastructure, education and community outcomes in regional WA, the people who live outside the metro area will certainly miss out,” Mr Grills said.
“I reject any claim that Royalties for Regions – as an investment into important services and infrastructure in regional communities – is a luxury fund.
“Our regions produce much of this State’s economic wealth and deserve their fair share of government investment.”
While Royalties for Regions is enshrined in legislation, Mr Grills said the legislation could be repealed if The Nationals WA did not remain in a balance of power position following the 2017 State Election.
“The major parties believe that spending in the regions can be wound down to fund big infrastructure promises in the city,” he said.
“It’s highly disappointing to see that as soon as the pressure comes on, regional spending is the first place the major parties look to make cuts.
“Such an attitude towards regional investment demonstrates the metro-centric nature of the major parties.”
Mr Grills said The Nationals WA would continue to fight to retain Royalties for Regions on behalf of all regional Western Australians.
“There is no doubt that Royalties for Regions is under threat heading into the State Election,” he said.
“We’re calling on both major parties to be honest so voters can make a clear choice when they cast their vote.”