The Nationals WA have called on both major parties to be clear and honest 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 this week.
Member for Mining and Pastoral Region Jacqui Boydell MLC said the people of regional WA deserved honesty ahead of the 2017 State Election.
“It’s becoming increasingly clear that the major parties will revise Royalties for Regions and wind back spending in the country to fund big ticket projects in Perth,” Ms Boydell said.
“If Colin Barnett or Mark McGowan plan to repeal Royalties for Regions or make significant changes, they owe it to the people of 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 delivered $6.1 billion to 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 miss out,” Ms Boydell said.
“I reject any contention that Royalties for Regions, as an investment into important services and infrastructure in regional communities, is a luxury fund.”
While Royalties for Regions is enshrined in legislation, Ms Boydell said the Act governing Royalties for Regions could be repealed if The Nationals WA did not retain the balance of power beyond the 2017 State Election.
“It’s very disappointing that as soon as the slightest pressure comes on, regional spending is the first place the major parties look to make cuts,” Ms Boydell said.
Ms Boydell 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.
“This is why we’re believe both major parties must be honest so voters can make a clear choice when they cast their vote in 2017.”