Wyatt’s way to settle debt
Treasurer Ben Wyatt claims the State Government had undertaken a “comprehensive review” of the Royalties for Regions fund as part of efforts to claw back debt, and cash once earmarked for special projects in the bush would be redirected to regional schools, health services and infrastructure.
In a major shift, the Government has also revealed R4R would be used to fund 80 per cent of a water subsidy for regional areas previously funded out of consolidated revenue, at a cost of almost $300 million a year.
The Government will now also use RFR cash to pay for mental health programs, to fund efforts to combat methamphetamine use and to pay wages of support assistants in classrooms.
Mandurah also appears to have been reclassified as a regional area, while R4R funding will pay for an Aboriginal ranger program in the State’s north, with $16 million allocated over four years.
The program was created as part of a deal between the Liberals and the Nationals to form government after the 2008 election, and saw 25 per cent of mining royalties directed to projects in regional areas.