Western Australia Treasurer Colin Barnett
State Budget 2010-11: Strong Foundations. Working Together (Wheatbelt)
Victor P Taffa
The 2010-11 State Budget handed down by Premier and Treasurer Colin Barnett today includes $123 Million for expenditure on assets in the Wheatbelt region.
The Premier and Treasurer said the $286 Million surplus announced in today’s Budget reflected the Liberal-National Government’s disciplined economic stewardship during the recent global downturn and created a strong foundation for future growth and improved service delivery.
“Today’s $286 Million surplus will ensure the State Government can focus on ensuring services are delivered efficiently, effectively and fairly across the State.” Premier Barnett said.
“This is a great result for all West Australians and I would like to specifically welcome today’s announcement of major projects and improved service delivery for the Wheatbelt region.”
“This ongoing level of support for important initiatives in the Wheatbelt region highlights the Liberal-National Government’s commitment to ensuring the benefits and opportunities of a strong economy are shared throughout Western Australia.” Premier Barnett said.
Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls said the Government had budgeted $896.8 Million into developing regional Western Australia under the Liberal-National Government Royalties for Regions program for 2010-11.
Royalties for Regions is funded by the equivalent of 25 % of WA’s mining and on-shore petroleum royalty revenue, comprising three key funds the Country Local Government Fund; the Regional Community Services Fund; and the Regional Infrastructure and Headworks Fund.
“The program is designed to help regional communities grow and prosper by promoting local decision-making and attracting the resources and investment needed to support development.” Mr. Grylls said.
The Wheatbelt region will have access to funding over the next four years for Safer Roads and State Black Spot programs and $28 Million in funding over the next four years to improving regional aviation infrastructure through the Regional Airports Development Scheme.
Mr. Grylls said another major announcement was the allocation of $120.3 Million over three years to expand the State’s mobile phone coverage on country highways.
“The shortcomings of mobile telephone coverage on the State’s major regional highways need to be improved and Royalties for Regions funding will provide $8.0 Million in 2010-11 to expand mobile phone coverage to address black spots.” Mr. Grylls said.
“The program will also include $80.3 Million over three years to upgrade communications systems for Regional Police and Emergency Services.”
The Budget also provides $102 Million to the Country Local Government Fund with $61 Million to be allocated to individual country local governments and $33 Million to groups of country local governments to invest in significant infrastructure projects developed with the support of the Regional Development Commissions.
Mr. Grylls said on the health issues an $8.5 Million program under Rural Generalist Pathways over three years will provide junior doctors with training in regional hospitals in Western Australia.
“The program will also include $80.3 Million over three years to upgrade communications systems for Regional Police and Emergency Services.” Mr. Grylls said.
The 2010-11 Budget also includes the biggest ever injection of additional funding for the State’s health system, regional development, significant increases to child protection services, money to strengthen the community sector and support for young people and families.