Wy­att’s way to settle debt

Countryman - - NEWS - Nick But­terly

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.

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