Slim pickings for Kimberley
Premier Mark McGowan says his Government has delivered a budget on things that matter in the Kimberley, but the lion’s share is for projects already begun or funded.
Announced in Perth last week, it includes $21 million to continue delivery of regional youth justice services in the region and the Pilbara.
Mr McGowan said the investment built on current projects and included more than $4 billion in Royalties for Regions across WA and $200.2 million in job-creating infrastructure.
Apart from that, it was slim pickings for the Kimberley, although Mr McGowan did announce his Government was funding a number of regional incentives, including $70 million for improvements to regional roads and $1.2 million for advanced warning signs at intersections on rural roads.
The Government also committed $1.5 million over three years for a capability-building program for Aboriginal businesses and $22.5 million towards the Regional Economic Development Grants Scheme.
Shire of Broome president Harold Tracey said it was pleasing to see the Government was continuing to support ongoing projects.
“Community safety continues to be a concern for people in Broome and so it is hoped that the announcement of funding for youth justice services and early intervention programs for young offenders in the Kimberley can make a difference,” he said.
“The announcement of a program of regional economic development grants may also be an opportunity for securing funding for Broome, and as a council we’ll look closely at this once the detail of this program emerges.
“The announcement of support for Aboriginal businesses is also welcome. We’re also pleased that funding remains for work on roads, including Cape Leveque Road, Beagle Bay Road and Great Northern Highway.”
WA Police Union president George Tilbury said a $30 a week rent increase to Government Regional Officer Housing would put policing services in rural areas at risk.
He said it was disappointing there were no provisions in the Budget for additional police officers and no allocation for the compensation scheme for medically retired police officers.
Mr McGowan said the Budget focused on the things that mattered to people in the Kimberley — jobs, health, education and community services.
“Our continuing investment in the regional youth justice services in the Kimberley will help to create better opportunities for young people in the Kimberley, while keeping communities safer,” he said.
Member for Kimberley Josie Farrer and Premier Mark McGowan at the Port of Broome last year.