‘Soft’ projects on Lib agenda

Pilbara News - - Election 2017 - Tom Zaun­mayr

The Lib­er­als’ Pil­bara can­di­date is pitch­ing for a re­vamp of Roy­al­ties for Re­gions spend­ing to pri­ori­tise what he de­scribes as “soft” in­fras­truc­ture over big-ticket projects.

Mark Alchin said with many large in­fras­truc­ture projects al­ready built or com­mit­ted to, it was time to fo­cus on grow­ing the res­i­den­tial pop­u­la­tion and small busi­nesses.

“My con­cern is that in the Pil­bara, Port Hed­land in particular, the pop­u­la­tion is al­most back where it was 10 years ago,” he said.

“Ratepay­ers have amaz­ing fa­cil­i­ties but have dif­fi­cul­ties ser­vic­ing it.

“What we will be do­ing is rather than build­ing large in­fras­truc­ture which soaks up bil­lions of dol­lars, we will be re­view­ing the cri­te­ria to put a strong fo­cus back on peo­ple.”

Mr Alchin said spend­ing $42 mil­lion on a Pil­bara “air card” was a pri­or­ity.

“It will pro­vide sup­port for three re­turn flights per year to any­one, and is trans­fer­able to fam­ily mem­bers,” he said. “We have costed it at about $42 mil­lion, based on a three re­turn flight sub­sidy for a pop­u­la­tion of about 50,000.”

Mr Alchin said the card would be made avail­able for every­one reg­is­tered in the Pil­bara to en­sure only real lo­cal res­i­dents could use it.

In Kar­ratha for a La­bor cam­paign event last week, Alan­nah MacTier­nan reaf­firmed the Op­po­si­tion’s sup­port for the Roy­al­ties for Re­gions pro­gram.

Ms MacTier­nan said WA La­bor would en­sure it was spent in the best way to max­imise the ben­e­fits for res­i­dents.

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

Pil­bara Lib­eral can­di­date Mark Alchin.

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