Acting Premier admits METRONET infrastructure spend is putting pressure on WA Economy

Jul 5, 2022 | State News, Tjorn Sibma MLC

Shadow METRONET Minister, Tjorn Sibma, has welcomed the Acting Premier’s honesty that the WA Government’s infrastructure spend is overheating the WA economy.

In an ABC interview this morning, the Acting Premier stated with ‘hindsight, we should have gone to this degree or that degree’, in response to questions about the impact of the Government’s spending program on worker shortages.

“METRONET is a $10 billion dollar project being built all at once in an overheated economy.  There is no doubt that there are significant inflationary pressures being placed on WA business due to the Government’s refusal to stage the project responsibly.” Mr Sibma said.

“While the government blames the advice it received from economists and the community for continuing their infrastructure program unamended, they are failing to adapt to market conditions leaving West Australians to pay the price.”

“METRONET’s benefit cost ratio (BCR) was already marginal, adding billions to the cost and crowding out private sector investment will not lead to any additional benefits for WA taxpayers.”

Mr Sibma said that the Government had no excuse for not acting earlier to address worker shortages.

“We had two years where our border was welded shut, and during that time no work was done to attract the thousands of people we knew would be required to grow our state when we eventually reopened.”

“This isn’t something that benefits from hindsight, these are foreseeable problems that the Government chose to ignore.”

“Even in the midst of the pandemic, WA’s economy was booming due to high commodity prices, and worker shortages were already present.”

“Knowing that worker shortages were a problem, the Government still chose to expand the scope of METRONET which added billions of dollars to the price tag and further added to the Government’s competition with private sector investment.”

“Private sector investment has ongoing benefits to the State of Western Australia, yet METRONET once complete will simply add an extra billion dollars a year in government operating expenditure.”

“The benefit of charging ahead with multibillion dollar METRONET project ahead, does not outweigh the significant impact that the project is having on our skills shortage”

“The Acting Premier’s comments do little to address the pain that WA families are feeling as prices continue to rise.”