7 funding promises to watch out for in the 2017 WA State Budget

Treasurer Ben Wyatt.
Treasurer Ben Wyatt.

THE Labor Government’s much anticipated first State Budget is set to be unveiled today – and Treasurer Ben Wyatt has made no secret about the dire condition of Western Australia’s finances.

Increases to power, water and public transport bills have already been announced and many West Australians will watch with interest to see if Premier Mark McGowan keeps his pre-election commitment to neither increase existing taxes nor introduce new ones.

Headlined by the massive public transport infrastructure project Metronet, Labor made billions of dollars in election promises – with the incumbent Liberals insisting all the way that the lavish spending could not be funded.

Today, the day of reckoning arrives.

Here’s a list of 13 local projects we’ll be keeping an eye out for across Perth.

7. Arts funding

$3 million has been promised for a Creative Music Fund to pursue planning reforms to protect existing live music venues and boost the development of new venues in entertainment precincts. A $120,000 one-off grant for RTRFM 92.1 is also on the cards, with $7 million each for performing arts centres at Ocean Reef Senior High School and Belridge Secondary College.

6. New and improved schools

More than $380 million was committed to improving infrastructure at schools throughout the state, including $7 million for Belmont City College, $4.5 million for Melville Senior High School, $8.4 million for Southern River College, $4 million for Mt Lawley Senior High School and $10 million for Darling Range Sports College.

5. Youth mental health 

Labor promised the final $4.9 million required for an integrated health hub for at-risk youth in Peel after the Mandurah community was left reeling from six teen suicides.

4. Road upgrades

The Labor Party promised a significant amount of money to help ease congestion after scrapping the controversial Roe 8 extension. From $95 million to build overpasses on Wanneroo Road and Joondalup Drive, to $40 million for improvements on Curtin Ave, there are a number of road projects around the State expecting the green funding light.

3. Community facilities

Mandurah is expecting $10 million towards its eastern foreshore redevelopment as well as $350,000 to install extra CCTV cameras – while the Fremantle Netball Association is hoping for $1.8 million for upgrades to Gibson Park. $2 million has been promised for a Morley sport and recreation development, while $3 million has been promised for a community centre in Kalamunda.

2. Hospitals

Plenty has been promised in the way of patching up the holes in our health care system, such as $167 million to Joondalup Health Campus for a ‘medihotel’ and urgent care clinic. Another $45 million is expected for a medihotel at Royal Perth Hospital, while Osborne Park Hospital will be hanging out for a $28 million pledge for rehabilitation beds to assist seniors – as well as an expansion of midwifery services.

1. Trains trains trains

The Government’s much-lauded Metronet will be the key plank of its infrastructure-building platform – however it will not be cheap. Mandurah will be looking forward to the $20 million earmarked for a new multi-storey car park at the train station, while in the longer term, the State Government has committed to spending $520 million building a rail link between Thornlie and Cockburn stations. However, that project is not expected to be completed until late 2023. In the north-eastern corridor, a 21km rail line to Ellenbrook has been promised for the princely sum of $863 million – with stations at Morley, Noranda, Malaga, Bennett Springs, Whiteman and Ellenbrook by 2022. Further north, and $386 million is needed to fulfil the promise of extending the Joondalup rail line 13km  to Yanchep while building new stations at Alkimos, Eglinton and Yanchep by 2021.