The measure of a State budget is how it improves the lives of residents and this year the Pilbara the community has been short changed,” said The Hon Neil Thomson MLC, Member for Mining and Pastoral.
“The issues of housing shortages, rising rents, crime and skills shortages are front and centre of for people living in the region, along with our ailing health system, but there is little new State funding in the announcements,” said Mr Thomson.
“It is unbelievable that the public dentist in South Hedland is working out of a caravan and it would appear that no funding has been allocated to the Port Hedland hospital for facility upgrades, a hospital where staff walked off the job last year.”
Mr Thomson continued, “while any funding is welcomed, we have seen a stingy approach to the Pilbara noting even the expansion of services at the Karratha Hospital has already been flagged in the WA Cancer Plan in September last year.”
“Furthermore, the budget announcement also fails to recognise the massive contribution of the Federal Government which has funded 80% of major transport upgrades, such as the much-needed road widening between Port Hedland and Newman,” said Mr Thomson.
“The State has been dragged along by the Federal Government in delivering the urgent upgrades to road safety.
“Probably the biggest failure in this budget is the lack of targeted funding to address the massive social housing waiting list and affordable housing demand across the Pilbara.
“$99.4million has been allocated for spot purchases and new builds across the whole of regional Western Australia, but that is only for government worker accommodation and that won’t go far when spread across the State over four years.
“We know from experience that spot purchases can impact heavily on local markets and housing affordability, so it is essential that social and affordable housing is also in the spotlight,” Mr Thomson said.
“This budget is a slap in the face for the Pilbara region which has been the engine room for our economy, underpinning the 60% revenue increase enjoyed by Labor since coming to power.
“The summary document is called “Delivering for the Pilbara”, but Labor has failed to do that in its 2022-23 budget.”