The Western Australian Government has delivered its 2019-20 Budget and is undertaking a record program of building new roads and upgrading the state’s most congested and dangerous roads through a $4.2 billion investment.
The State Government has also delivered on its pledge to return the Budget to surplus of $553 million in 2018-19, which is the first operating surplus since 2013-14. This represents a $3 billion turnaround from the $2.5 billion deficit in 2016-17. Operating surpluses are also forecast across the entire forward estimates period, including a $1.5 billion surplus in 2019-20 and over $2 billion out to 2022-23.
Premier Mark McGowan said the 2019-20 Budget has a big focus on growing the economy and creating jobs across a range of industries.
“It includes important targeted spending in key areas to help diversify our economy and set up our State for the long term, including a significant investment in our schools, hospitals, police force and tourism industry.”
The 2019-20 Budget outlines a major increase in funding for roads and job-creating infrastructure across WA, including:
- $852 million for the Bunbury Outer Ring Road;
- $175 million for the Albany Ring Road;
- $310 million for the ongoing construction of Karratha-Tom Price Road;
- $87.5 million to upgrade Great Northern Highway from Broome to Kununurra;
- $40 million for Coolgardie-Esperance Highway upgrades;
- $27.5 million for Stage One Pinjarra Heavy Haulage Deviation;
- $275 million for Great Northern Highway – Bindoon Bypass;
- $87.5 million for Wheatbelt Secondary Freight Routes upgrades;
- $10 million for the new LNG Futures Facility;
- $48 million to upgrade port facilities across WA; and
- An additional $19.5 million for the Forrestdale Business Park.
In addition, the Budget includes significant upgrades to schools and hospitals, such as:
- $50 million for a major upgrade of Balcatta Senior High School;
- $19.3 million to redevelop Broome Senior High School;
- a total of $161 million to redevelop Joondalup Health Campus;
- and $11 million towards the redevelopment of Bunbury Hospital.
The Australian Industry Group (Ai) State Manager Kristian Stratton said the budget shows Western Australia’s improving financial position which will continue to provide a platform for economic growth and jobs in the state.
“The budget highlights the importance of efficient infrastructure development to WA’s long-term economic performance through its commitment to lifting infrastructure investment in WA,” Mr Stratton said.
He believes the provision of $5 billion in capital expenditure over the four years to 2021-22 directed at new and existing projects spread across manufacturing, rail and roads has the potential to contribute greatly to both job creation and boosting productivity.
“A key challenge will be ensuring that these infrastructure projects are delivered as part of a consistent pipeline of construction activity with project delivery strongly focussed on local capacity, capability, skills and supply chains.”
Mr Stratton also stated the employer incentive scheme for taking on apprentices is a much-needed and welcome initiative given the skill shortages many businesses are facing in WA.
“Employers prefer training their own staff rather than bringing in expensive labour from overseas and this will help grow the pool of skilled workers in the State,” he concluded.
Please note: This is just a small fraction of what was outlined in the 2019-20 Budget. More information on the 2019-20 State Budget can be found here.