Wheatbelt a winner

The Muresk Institute.
The Muresk Institute.

The Federal Government allocated $292 million over the next five years for Regional Blueprint Initiatives to outline growth and development strategies.

There was also an additional $45 million to roll |out 113 new or upgraded mobile telecommunications towers to provide better coverage for black spots across the region.

A further $300 million over five years was allocated to continue the Seizing the Opportunity in Agriculture program, which aims to ensure the industry can undergo transformation and create growth and prosperity in regional communities.

About $20 million was reinstated in the Country Local Government Fund following its removal from the budget last year. This will enable 36 local governments to complete important community projects.

In the State Budget, highlights included $1 billion a year for the next four years in Royalties for Regions funding, of which $103.6 million is destined for the Central Wheatbelt.

The State Government also elected to fund a three-year trial of an enhanced Avonlink rail service, overturning a previous decision to close the rail network this year.

Other projects funded included $6.9 million for upgrades to Merredin and Narrogin residential colleges and $2.9 million for development of the Muresk Institute, near Northam.

There was also $6.2 million for regional water initiatives, $3.5 million for community safety and $4.3 million to continue the Housing for Workers scheme.

The Country Aged Pension Fuel Card, Patient Assisted Transport Scheme, RFDS, Regional Workers Incentives, Community Resource Centres, Regional Men’s Health Initiative and the Regional Events Program were all extended.

There has been a $50 increase to $550 in the fuel card allowance, which will partially offset changes to federal fuel excise from August 1, which will cause the price of a litre of petrol to rise by the rate of inflation every six months.