Fed­eral funds for projects in doubt: MP

Midwest Times - - NEWS - Tom Zaun­mayr

Fed­eral fund­ing for re­gional West Aus­tralian projects could be harder to come by be­cause of the State Govern­ment’s changes to Roy­al­ties for Re­gions, ac­cord­ing to Du­rack MP Melissa Price.

The multi­bil­lion-dol­lar re­gional fund­ing pro­gram has reg­u­larly been used for the past eight years as a means to at­tract fur­ther fund­ing from the Fed­eral Govern­ment.

With a por­tion of the Roy­al­ties for Re­gions piggy bank now be­ing di­verted to Bud­get re­pair, ser­vices, and main­te­nance of ex­ist­ing fa­cil­i­ties, Ms Price has warned the abil­ity to at­tract Fed­eral fund­ing could be af­fected.

“The model for fund­ing big re­gional projects in Aus­tralia is of­ten funded by a con­tri­bu­tion from the State Govern­ment and a con­tri­bu­tion from the Com­mon­wealth, with per­haps some other money com­ing from the lo­cal govern­ment and the pri­vate sec­tor,” she said.

“Now, with the State Govern­ment’s de­ci­sion, my fear is that im­por­tant projects may not go ahead due to lack of fund­ing.

“La­bor doesn’t care about re­gional WA and doesn’t un­der­stand how to stim­u­late the economies of our towns and com­mu­ni­ties.”

Ms Price said pro­posed changes to the gold tax were also of con­cern.

Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Alan­nah MacTier­nan said WA’s Fed­eral rep­re­sen­ta­tives had done a poor job fight­ing for fund­ing for the State for years.

“Why is it that over all of th­ese years where there has been so much money in­vested here, that we have seen so lit­tle come through from the Fed­eral Govern­ment?” she said.

“We have heaps of projects we would love to get the Com­mon­wealth to fund us, to go half­way as they do in Queens­land. For ex­am­ple, on our wild dog pro­gram, we get a measly $2 mil­lion from the Fed­eral Govern­ment and I un­der­stand Queens­land gets more than $10 mil­lion.”

Ms MacTier­nan said un­til the Fed­eral Govern­ment fixed WA’s GST share, this was the only op­tion the State Govern­ment had.

A to­tal of $5 mil­lion a year over four years has been pro­vided in the State Bud­get to set up a Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Lever­age Unit to iden­tify op­por­tu­ni­ties for third-party in­vest­ment from the Com­mon­wealth, pri­vate sec­tor and other par­ties in re­gional WA.

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Alan­nah MacTier­nan.

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