2009-10 WA State Budget
On 14 May 2009, the WA Liberal-National Government introduced its first Budget to State Parliament.
Treasurer Troy Buswell said the Budget is designed to:
- protect jobs and support the State’s economy
- secure the State’s economic future
- provide better services for regional families and communities
- protect the State’s finances.
The Budget totals more than $20billion worth of expenditure in 2009-10. State debt is projected to hit $19.1billion by 30 June 2013 with unemployment in WA predicted to peak at 6.75 per cent in 2010-11.
$7.6billion in savings was generated by:
- Capital Works Audit Savings of $3.019billion.
- When the Barnett Government took office, a Capital Works Audit wasconducted [October 2008]. Specific outcomes included deferring or remodeling key infrastructure projects planned by the Carpenter Government including a major outdoor stadium, a new Perth Museum and the Ellenbrook Railway Line and cutting the It Pays to Learn education subsidy and the Waterwise Rebates Program.
- Economic Audit Savings of $1.125billion
- Three Per Cent Efficiency Dividend Savings of $1.757billion, including:
- $112.9million from the reduction of central office and administration operations for the Department of Education and Training
- $61million for corporate expenditure reductions across the Department of Health
- general operational savings and savings in procurement services and contracts of $54.9million for Western Australia Police
- $11.3million across the Department of Treasury and Finance for the rationalisation of staff across the State Revenue business unit to focus on areas of greatest risk and revenue yield.
Key Budget Initiatives
- Oakajee Port and Rail and Northbridge Link are major infrastructure projects for the Barnett Government. Funding allocations for these projects have been left out of the 2009-10 budget because the Federal Government funding announcement came after the State Budget numbers had been finalised. However, the Treasurer has:
- committed $339million towards Oakajee Port & Rail; and
- indicated the State Government contribution to the Northbridge link could be up to $200million.
- $316million for more than 1,000 new dwellings to increase the State’s social housing sector. This includes $116million for 600 new social housing dwellings and $200million over two years from Royalties for Regions for the construction of 400 new dwellings for the Government Regional Officers Housing program.
- An increase in the Community Sporting and Recreation Facilities Fund (CSRFF) from $9million to $20million, 58 per cent to be allocated to regional Western Australia.
- An additional 600 prison beds by the end of the 2009-10 financial year consisting of a mix of double bunking, new demountable accommodation and refurbishment of previously decommissioned cells. Expenditure totals $12million.
- Increases in water and wastewater charges for householders.
- An increase in agriculture and food budget to $164million, compared to last year’s estimated actual expenditure of $136million.
Capital Works – $23.8billion over four years, including an $8.3billion Asset Investment Program in 2009-10
- The Asset Improvement Program is designed to support approximately 26,000 jobs in the coming year. This includes:
- $1.2billion on expanding, maintaining and improving the State’s electricity infrastructure, broken down in the following way:
- $817million allocated to Western Power’s transmission and distribution works;
- $500million for Verve Energy including $263.4million to build two high efficiency gas turbines in Kwinana, to be commissioned in 2011-12;
- $300million for Horizon Power to invest in regional electricity infrastructure; and
- $2.5million to extend the Solar Hot Water Subsidy scheme.
- $1.1billion on the State’s water, wastewater and drainage services to ensure the ongoing quality and maintenance of water services and to meet increasing demand
- $1.1billion on schools and TAFE colleges throughout the State.
- nearly $1.0billion on the construction of dwellings and the development of land throughout WA
- $654million on road construction and improvement works
- $572million on infrastructure to improve and extend the State’s health care facilities
- $377million on port infrastructure across the State
- $363million on law and order‑related projects.
Royalties for the Regions
The WA Government has injected $644million into developing regional Western Australia under the Royalties for Regions program
The program is funded by the equivalent of 25 per cent of WA’s mining and on-shore petroleum royalty revenue, comprising the following three funds:
- $100million Country Local Government Fund
- $57.821million Regional Community Services Fund; and
- $445.69million Regional Infrastructure and Headworks Fund (including $300million program of works to help develop the Pilbara Revitalisation Plan).
Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls has announced the Royalties for Regions program would contribute $25million per year towards the State Government’s efficiency savings until 2012-13 and assisting the State in protecting its triple ‘A’ rating.
A fact sheet providing more detail about royalties can be found on the Treasury website.
The 2009-10 Budget sees a $5.19billion spend on the state’s education over the following year. Announced programs include:
- $1.1billion on schools and TAFE colleges throughout the State. Full details of the education capital works budget can be found in the Education Minister’s press release.
- $46million will be spent over four years to improve behaviour in schools.
- $300million to build and upgrade 14 schools (over six years).
- an extra $101million for pay increases for teachers.
- an extra $15.1million for pay increases for education assistants, cleaners and gardeners.
- a new focus on improving literacy and numeracy, with initiatives to cost $28.4million.
- an estimated $4million in rent rises to be absorbed for teachers working in regional areas.
- $1.8million from the Royalties for Regions fund to increase the Boarding Away from Home Allowance.
Health expenditure totals $4.91billion, and includes:
- $572million in health‑related infrastructure, including forward works for a new children’s hospital, the redevelopment of Kalgoorlie Regional Resource Centre, and the Joondalup Health Campus Development.
- An additional 800 FTE nurses over the next four years and has implemented the $28million Nurse Support Fund to help achieve this goal, with $7.6million earmarked for hospitals across WA in 2009-10.
- $27million in 2009-10 for the Friend-in-Need Emergency (FINE) program.
- An extra $20million on elective surgery.
- $17.9million to help country patients’ access specialist health services via the Royal Flying Doctor Service and Patient Assisted Travel Scheme.
Law & Order
Law and order formed a central part of the Liberal-National election campaign in 2008. Spending on law and order comes to $2.2billion, with the following announced:
- $208.5million in recurrent funding to recruit for an additional 500 officers and 200 support staff.
- $47.5million for expansion of the Perth Metropolitan Radio network
- $30million allocation in 2009-10 to purchase digital speed and red light cameras
- $24million on a new helicopter
- $150.2million over the forward estimates to fund a Government pay offer to police.
- $8million in recurrent funding over the forward estimates – with $2million in 2009-10 to re-open country police stations in Cranbrook, Dumbleyung and Wickepin
- $34million over the forward estimates to build new and replacement police stations, including Mt Magnet, Fitzroy Crossing, South Metropolitan Region Police Station
- $147.4million over the next four years for construction of the Joondalup train line extension from Clarkson to Brighton, which will start in 2010 (total estimated cost of project $282.9million).
- $49.5million over four years for 3,000 park and ride car bays at stations on the Joondalup and Mandurah lines.
- $6.1million in 2009-10 (and $24.7million over four years) for free travel entitlements for about 320,000 seniors.
- Western Australia’s road network would receive $1.37billion, with
- $793.4million spent on country roads, and
- $357.8million in the metropolitan area.
- $122.9million had been budgeted to be spent in 2009-10 on local government roads
- $20million allocated for the ongoing State Black Spot Program
- $377.2million in 2009-10 for WA port projects, including the dredging and upgrade of Fremantle Inner Harbour berths and channels.
- $7.5million available during 2009-10 for Regional Airports Development Scheme projects
Amid a global downturn, the WA Government has announced a $140million small business package, including:
- one-off payroll tax rebate for small and medium-sized businesses worth $100million
- land tax measures worth greater than $20million over four years
- $10.6million over two years for rebates of workers’ compensation premiums for first year apprentices and trainees
- $5.7million over two years to provide pathways for people disadvantaged in the labour market
- additional resources for a rapid response team to support employers and apprentices affected by the economic downturn
- a $2million ‘BIZFit’ program to boost business resilience.
A more detailed summary of the WA budget can be accessed at www.ourstatebudget.wa.gov.au.
For other inquiries, please contact your Hawker Britton consultant.