Bud­get wash-up looks set to ben­e­fit Bun­bury

South Western Times - - News - Billy Kerr

IN the af­ter­math of the State Bud­get there are the ob­vi­ous win­ners and there are the dis­grun­tled losers who have spent the past week com­plain­ing about what this Bud­get didn’t do.

Pre­dictably, the big losers are those elec­torates that did not vote La­bor.

Down here it is the Na­tion­als in Bus­sel­ton who are re­ally cry­ing poor but what did they think was go­ing to hap­pen? This is pol­i­tics and La­bor was not go­ing to miss the op­por­tu­nity to stick the boots into those on the other side.

The fact Bus­sel­ton and Mar­garet River missed out on the big quids should be music to Greater Bun­bury be­cause we have been play­ing se­cond fid­dle to these ar­eas, who only had to cough and a politi­cian would throw mil­lions at them.

Bud­get an­nounce­ments for this fi­nan­cial year in­cluded items for ed­u­ca­tion and other cap­i­tal works projects that ac­tu­ally have not got any money be­hind them and will not be funded un­til some­time in the fu­ture.

This is quite sneaky on the part of the Gov­ern­ment be­cause this bud­get should rep­re­sent what is ac­tu­ally go­ing to be funded in the next fi­nan­cial year and not past that point.

It might be clever mar­ket­ing with a twist of spin to it but the truth would have been bet­ter.

An­other tar­get was the Roy­al­ties for Re­gions pro­gram and while butcher­ing this pro­gram might have sat­is­fied a need for po­lit­i­cal re­venge, the de­ci­sion was poorly timed and ex­e­cuted.

City-cen­tric gov­ern­ments need to un­der­stand that the bush pro­vides a sub­stan­tial rev­enue stream and as such the bush needs a pro­gram that it can call its own and the Roy­al­ties pro­gram did just that.

This Gov­ern­ment’s choice to use the money it gains from Roy­al­ties to fund ma­jor cap­i­tal works pro­grams like schools and roads that would nor­mally be funded out of main­stream Gov­ern­ment rev­enue is just a slap in the face for the bush. This aside, Bun­bury looks like it will get some of the se­ri­ous money that has passed us by for some time. This will give the city the chance to get its dream of a new water­front precinct – a key plank in our eco­nomic fu­ture.

It will un­der­pin our growth, pro­vided other key eco­nomic driv­ers such as the re­de­vel­op­ment and ex­pan­sion of the port also gets pri­or­ity fund­ing sta­tus.

The Gov­ern­ment has a moun­tain of debt to climb and it gets points for hav­ing a crack at some of the real is­sues in the re­gions and will get more points next time around if it ap­plies a lit­tle more fi­nesse to their Bud­get prepa­ra­tion and ex­e­cu­tion.

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