- Treasurer's Advance limit increased by $1 billion to provide immediate funding capacity to support COVID-19 response
- Some Government programs deferred indefinitely as part of ongoing focus to manage the COVID-19 pandemic
- Changes to help protect the community and ensure WA is in a strong position to recover
The McGowan Government has announced a suite of administrative measures to assist the State to respond to COVID-19.
Legislation will be introduced to Parliament next week to increase the Treasurer's Advance limit by $1 billion, taking the total to $1.7 billion. This will give the State Government immediate capacity to fund further economic stimulus measures, and crucial health or other services that may be required in coming months.
The Treasurer's Advance provides the State Government with the ability to approve additional spending in 2019-20, on top of the State Budget appropriation, to allow it to respond to extraordinary or unforeseen circumstances.
Cabinet have also agreed on a number of initiatives that will be deferred indefinitely, in an effort to free up resources and allow the State Government to continue to focus all efforts on responding to COVID-19.
With immediate effect, the following programs will be put on hold indefinitely:
- The McGowan Government's Public Sector Reform Program;
- Our Priorities: Sharing Prosperity;
- Strategic Assessment of the Perth and Peel Regions; and
- The Supporting Communities Forum.
Where possible, staff in these areas will be reassigned to COVID-19 related tasks.
Infrastructure Western Australia (IWA) has also agreed to scale back work on preparing the State's 20-year infrastructure plan given the current uncertainty.
In addition, BHP have agreed to release the $230 million that was allocated towards the construction of a new women's and maternity hospital, as part of a royalties settlement reached last year. This funding will now go towards the State's COVID-19 response.
The State Government remains committed to the new hospital in the longer term, and planning will progress in an appropriate manner once the COVID-19 pandemic crisis passes.
Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:
"Responding to COVID-19 is the State Government's number one priority for the foreseeable future.
"We need everyone in government to work together to respond to COVID-19. This is unlike anything Western Australia, and indeed the world, has ever seen before.
"It's also crucial that we are well prepared to support our economy to recover and rebuild, when the critical health issue is over.
"The McGowan Government has undertaken a huge program of reform across the State. Unfortunately, some programs will need to be put on hold to enable us to focus all efforts on COVID-19.
"This is the responsible thing to do. Further measures to support the State Government's response to COVID-19 are being considered and will be rolled out as needed.
"I've spoken to BHP who have agreed for the $230 million to be used for these COVID-19 purposes instead. I want to thank them for their understanding."
Premier's office - 6552 5000