Western Australia's Wheatbelt region is set to benefit from the State Government's investment in the areas of health, community support services, education, Aboriginal development, agriculture, tourism and the arts.
Treasurer Mike Nahan said the State Budget would continue to build a stronger economy in 2016-17 that attracted investment and created jobs and opportunities for people living and working in regional WA.
Specific Wheatbelt projects funded in the 2016-17 State Budget through Royalties for Regions and forward estimates released today include:
- $4.7 million from the Seizing the Opportunity Agriculture initiatives Water for Food program for the Midlands groundwater and land assessment
- $600,000 of Royalties for Regions funding for the Jurien Bay to Cervantes cycle trail taking the total to $1.2 million
- upgrades to Northam, Narrogin and Merredin hospitals as part of the $565 million Southern Inland Health Initiative (SIHI)
- small hospitals and nursing post upgrades at Beverley, York, Goomalling, Kununoppin, Quairading, Wongan Hills, Wyalkatchem, Bruce Rock, Corrigin, Dumbleyung, Kellerberrin, Kondinin, Mukinbudin, Narembeen, Jurien Bay, Moora and Williams as part of SIHI
- expanded Emergency Telehealth Service.
State-wide investment totalling $3.78 billion across the forward estimates will benefit the Wheatbelt region in the following categories:
- Seizing the Opportunity Agriculture - including Boosting Grains Research and Development Support, Water for Food, Asian Market Success, WA Open for Business, and WA Biosecurity Defence
- a share of $14 million of funding to support potato growers in Gingin and Lancelin to make the transition to a deregulated market
- Culture and the arts - including Regional Film Fund and Creative Regions Program
- Aboriginal development initiatives
- Tourism - including the Western Australian Caravan and Camping Action Plan, Regional Visitor Centre Sustainability Grant Program and Regional Events Program
- Community support services - including Telecommunications, Country Age Pension Fuel Card and Community Chest Grant Scheme
- Education - including Boarding Away from Home Allowance.
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the Royalties for Regions investment would build infrastructure to grow the Wheatbelt, develop economic opportunities and improve targeted social programs.
"The Government has made responsible decisions to ensure Wheatbelt communities continue to thrive, develop and contribute to the State's economy," Mr Redman said.
"We must look to secure our State's future and provide opportunities for industry growth that supports local jobs and creates long-term benefits for regional communities.
"Work will begin this year on aged care housing projects across 19 local governments in the Wheatbelt, including Stage 1 of the Central East Aged Care Alliance project.
"Not only does Royalties for Regions provide better infrastructure and services for regional communities, it also builds regional economies, which is good for the entire State."
In addition, the Wheatbelt region also has the opportunity to access funding from the $642 million allocated over the next four years to implement major economic, social and community development projects that arise from Regional Investment Blueprints.
The State Government has provided $872 million for regional investment through Royalties for Regions in 2016-17
$600 million will be invested through the Growing Our South initiative to revitalise the Wheatbelt, Great Southern, Peel and South-West regions
Since 2008, the State Government has invested $6.9 billion into more than 3,700 Royalties for Regions-funded projects and programs, including transfers to the Future Fund and other Special Purpose Accounts
Treasurer's office - 6552 5700
Regional Development Minister's office - 6552 6700