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.”
The Treasurer 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 for the new major stadium at Kitchener Park in Subiaco, $506million for 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-Bunbury Highway, $1.1billion for water infrastructure, $1.2billion for improving electricity infrastructure and $212million for the construction and purchase of public rental housing.
Highlights of the local capital works program included:
· $9million to continue building the new Bannister Creek Primary School, in Lynwood (total project cost: $13million);
· $84.305million to continue work on the new Fiona Stanley Hospital stage one (total project cost: $1.76billion);
· $2.779million to complete stage one of the implementation of the Technology Precinct masterplan, in Bentley (total project cost: $8.55million);
· $70,000 for minor works and plant equipment at the Cannington Greyhounds;
· $1.9million for works at the Perth Market Authority, including new warehouses and minor capital works;
· $1.4million to complete upgrades to West Warehouse One at the Perth Market Authority (total project cost: $7.915million);
· $3.065million to complete stage two of the South East Warehouse Two at the Perth Market Authority (total project cost: $4.83million); and
· $604,000 to establish Western Power’s substation at Willetton (total project cost: $604,000).
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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