DESPITE vocally lamenting the sorry state of WA’s finances for months in the lead up to his first budget, Treasurer Ben Wyatt has still found room in the books for many of Labor’s election promises to the southern suburbs.
Ambitious infrastructure project Metronet was the centrepiece of Labor’s election campaign and the State Government has not backed down on its commitment, setting aside $423 million to extend the Thornlie line to Cockburn.
The project includes the construction of two new stations at Nicholson Road and Ranford Road, including park and ride facilities and bus interchanges, with the heavy spending beginning from 2018-19 and continuing all the way through until 2022.
Commuters in Perth’s south-east can look forward to some relief with $70 million set aside to begin work on removing the rail level crossing at Denny Avenue in Kelmscott, a notorious hot spot for congestion, by the end of 2020.
A further $1 million has also been allocated to begin planning for the future removal of level crossings at Caledonian Avenue (Maylands), Oat Street (Carlisle) and Wharf Street (Queens Park) – although substantive funding for the latter three projects does not appear in the forward estimates to 2021.
Matching a Liberal Party commitment, Labor promised a new southbound on-ramp to the Kwinana Freeway at Manning Road and that pledge appears to have been honoured, with $35 million set aside for the project between now and 2020.
It is contingent on securing majority funding from the Federal Government however.
The State Government has delivered on a handful of major funding commitments to Mandurah, headlined by $16.1 million to construct a multi-story car park at Mandurah train station.
The project is subject to confirmation of a matching funding contribution from the Commonwealth Government with the bulk of expenditure earmarked for 2019-20, suggesting a completion date early next decade.
The Mandurah eastern foreshore redevelopment will receive $10 million over two years beginning 2018-19 to provide landscaping and significant upgrades to existing amenities.
Finally, $350,000 will be spent in 2018-19 to install additional CCTV cameras at the war memorial in Mandurah.
Health and welfare facilities in the Peel region will also receive a considerable boost.
In addition to $5 million that has already been provided as a capital grant to support the construction of the new Peel Youth Medical Service Hub, the region will also share in an additional $5 million to establish a new women’s refuge.
Close to $10 million will be spent in 2017-18 to establish the state’s first alcohol and drug rehabilitation prison at Wandoo in Murdoch, which the State Government hopes will help to reduce reoffending rates.
Many southern suburbs high schools are in line for major cash injections, with Melville Senior High School ($4.5 million), Belmont City College ($5 million), Lakelands Senior High School ($2.5 million) and Southern River College ($8.4 million) all receiving funding across the forward estimates.
Upgrades to Melville SHS’s performing arts centre and a new joint sporting facility for Lakelands SHS will be the first cabs off the rank with funding beginning this financial year, while Belmont City College (2019-20) and Southern River College (2018-19) will have to wait a little longer.
On the community facilities front, the State Government has delivered on its promise to hand $1.8 million to the Fremantle Netball Association for upgrades to Gibson Park.
The money is included in the budget for 2017-18 and will be used to extend the main pavilion, enclose the show courts and provide more seating for spectators.
Just under $1 million will also go towards restoration projects by volunteer groups for the Swan and Canning Rivers.