Hon Ben Wyatt LLB MSc MLA

Hon Ben Wyatt LLB MSc MLA

Former Treasurer; Minister for Finance; Aboriginal Affairs; Lands

    2020 21 Budget delivers record fiscal support for WA’s recovery

    8/10/2020 2:00 PM
    • ​McGowan Government's fiscal strategy to focus on supporting the economy and job creation rather than paying down debt left by previous Liberal National Government
    • Responsible financial management provided capacity and flexibility to immediately respond to support Western Australians during the pandemic
    • 2020-21 Budget fully funds unprecedented $5.5 billion WA Recovery Plan
    • Record $27.1 billion investment in infrastructure over the next four years to support economic recovery and create a pipeline of WA jobs

    The McGowan Labor Government's 2020-21 Budget is focused on keeping Western Australians safe and strong, to lead the State's economic recovery from the world health pandemic. 


    The 2020-21 Budget frames the Government's adjusted focus from paying down the mountain of debt left by the previous Liberal National Government to supporting the State's economic recovery and creating a pipeline of jobs for Western Australians. 


    This Budget also continues to deliver on the McGowan Government's key priorities, including cost of living for households, with more than $1 billion in relief provided for households in this Budget.


    The 2020-21 Budget fully funds the Government's unprecedented $5.5 billion WA Recovery Plan announced in July.


    This Budget also invests in significant new initiatives including:

    • a one‑off $600 Household Electricity Credit delivering almost $650 million to Western Australian households and providing significant stimulus to the local economy;
    • recruitment of an additional 800 police officers over the next four years to boost community safety, on top of the 300 officers already being delivered;
    • $201 million to provide essential services in remote Aboriginal communities, including repairs and maintenance for Aboriginal housing, tenancy support, and delivery of essential and municipal services; and
    • $170.5 million in State Government funding for the Perth City Deal with the Commonwealth Government, including $150 million to help establish inner city university campuses. 

    The significant increase in spending and reduced revenue has cut projected operating surpluses by a total $6.6 billion compared to the 2019‑20 Mid‑year Review. 


    This includes a reduction in the projected surplus in 2020-21 from $2.7 billion to $1.2 billion.


    Recurrent expenditure is expected to be $4.9 billion higher relative to the Mid-year Review, underpinned by an increase in COVID-19 related spending.


    Revenue has been revised down by $1.7 billion as a result of COVID-19 relief measures and lower taxation and GST-related grants, with revenue reductions partially offset by higher mining revenue and proceeds from the recent Bell Group settlement.


    Residual operating surpluses have been fully allocated to funding record investment in infrastructure.


    Over the next four years, a record $27.1 billion will be invested in infrastructure projects to support the WA economy and provide a pipeline of local jobs.


    The infrastructure program includes the largest ever investment in regional roads, totalling $3.3 billion, as well as the delivery of METRONET projects.


    Lower operating surpluses and the record infrastructure spend has resulted in the need for additional borrowings, with net debt to rise by $8.3 billion relative to the Mid‑year Review.


    This unavoidable increase in net debt is sustainable, with total public sector net debt as a share of the State's economy rising only modestly, from an estimated 11.3 per cent in 2019‑20 to a forecast 14.1 per cent by 2023‑24.


    Comments attributed to Treasurer Ben Wyatt:


    "The McGowan Government's fourth Budget has been framed in very challenging and uncertain circumstances due to the world health pandemic.


    "The impacts of COVID-19 on Western Australians and our economy has resulted in the McGowan Government redirecting its fiscal strategy.


    "Previously our focus was on paying down the mountain of debt left by Liza Harvey and the former Liberal National Government.


    "This responsible financial management enabled the McGowan Government to already achieve the first Budget surplus in five years and gave us the financial capacity and flexibility to immediately respond when the pandemic struck.


    "Our focus in this Budget is keeping WA safe and strong so Western Australia can recover from COVID-19, stronger than ever.


    "While the expected operating surpluses have been revised down significantly, every cent has been spent on our record infrastructure investment to boost the economy and WA jobs. 


    "In 2020-21 alone, operating expenditure and infrastructure investment is budgeted to be $4.8 billion higher than last financial year - a very substantial increase in fiscal support for the State's economic recovery."


    Treasurer's office - 6552 5900