Building Western Australia was the Carpenter Government’s key priority in the 2008-09 State Budget, Treasurer Eric Ripper said today.
“This is our eighth consecutive balanced Budget and provides a record $7.6billion for capital works in 2008-09 and $26.1billion over the next four years,” Mr Ripper said.
“We are continuing to reinvest in our State’s future to help sustain our economic growth, with a massive capital works program that covers both Perth and the regions.
“And we are ensuring Western Australians will get the key services they rightly expect and deserve.
“This Budget also shares the State’s prosperity through big increases in spending on health care, including mental health, law and order, child protection, community safety, education and training, and public housing.”
Mr Ripper said the 2008-09 Budget also made housing more affordable with a $1.2billion tax relief package that would slash stamp duty on the median-priced house by about 15 per cent, saving a homebuyer about $3,000.
The package also includes reductions in land tax and payroll tax reforms to ease the compliance burden on business.
He said capital works included $1.07billion towards the new major stadium at Kitchener Park in Subiaco, $506million towards the new museum on the former East Perth power station site and $319million for the redevelopment of Perth’s Swan River foreshore.
Also included was $810million for roads, including $246.3million for the new Perth-to-Bunbury Highway, $1.1billion for water infrastructure, $1.2billion for improving electricity infrastructure and $212million for the purchase and construction of public rental housing.
Highlights of the local capital works program included:
· $84.305million to continue work on stage one of the new Fiona Stanley Hospital (total project cost: $1.762billion);
· $6.499million to install underground power in Mt Pleasant as part of the State Undergrounding Power Program (total project cost: $6.499million); and
· $650,000 to install a second transformer at the Murdoch substation (total project cost: $650,000).
On top of the record capital works program, Mr Ripper said the Government would spend $4.5billion for health care, $3.6billion for education and training, $2billion for law and order and community safety, $341million for child protection and $61million to bring another 4,400 apprentices and trainees into the State’s workforce.
“We are spending more per capita on public order and safety than any other Australian State,” he said.
“Our health spending continues to grow rapidly - health now consumes just under a quarter of total Government expenditure and our per capita rates are level with Queensland and ahead of NSW and Victoria.”
The Treasurer said the Government had also committed an extra $2.1billion to ensure better pay for nurses, doctors, police and teachers.
“The Government needs to pay key service staff at a rate that reflects their vital role while also continuing to attract and retain the right people,” Mr Ripper said.
“Enterprise bargaining agreements have been reached with the State’s health workers and police, making them among the best paid in the nation, and negotiations with the State’s teachers are ongoing.”
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