The Opposition said the McGowan Labor Government’s State Budget is another unnecessary hit on the hip pockets of West Australians in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis.
Opposition Leader Shane Love said despite an announcement of a $4.2 billion surplus in the State Budget, West Australians were slapped with further increases in fees and charges.
“Given their financial position, Labor has the opportunity to ensure WA families who are struggling to pay bills, cover rent and keep food on the table have the support they deserve,” Mr Love said.
“Year after year the Government increases fees and charges and uses the electricity credit as a distraction – this is a Government which gives with one hand, and takes with the other.”
Mr Love said the McGowan Labor Government has developed a habit of making promises they can’t keep, making commitments with no timeframe or plan for delivery.
“The McGowan Labor made an announcement of $511 million to build social housing, with no time frame for commencement of works – this was yet another empty promise,” he said.
“We know from talking to not-for-profit organisations they are under enormous and unprecedented pressure, the Opposition proposed $300 million in targeted relief, which has fallen on deaf ears of the Labor Government.”
Shadow Treasurer Dr Steve Thomas said even with the one-off $400 payment, households are still $629.51 worse off next financial year because of accumulated cost of living impacts imposed by this government since 2017.
“The average household now pays $6,690 a year and this one-off payment will do very little to reform cost of living issues that are plaguing Western Australian families,” Dr Thomas said.
“Household fees and charges are forecast to increase by inflation (2.5 per cent) over the forward estimates period and this will add an additional $167 in 2024-25, $171 in 2025-26 and $175 in 2025-26.
“The Premier has been gifted $19 billion in surpluses over the past five years on the back of iron ore royalties and the GST floor implemented by the former Federal coalition government, but there are a raft of service delivery shortfalls that don’t reflect the wealth pouring into Government coffers.
“The failure to either pay down debt or reform the economy including tax reform is a lost opportunity in the greatest boom in state history.
“Total Public Sector net debt has come down from the $32 billion Mark McGowan inherited only to $28 billion this year but is expected to rise to $36 billion in three years’ time.
“In the biggest fiscal boom in WA history Mark McGowan is driving debt up, not down. This is an indictment of his financial management!”
Liberal WA Leader Libby Mettam said this was a budget of empty promises and desperate catch up.
“As WA’s budget position continues to improve, outcomes for Western Australians across the board continue to decline.
“In his Budget, if you own a home and drive a car – you’re going to be paying more under Labor.
“Sadly, this Budget was full of missed opportunities across health, housing, law and order, and helping to ease cost-of-living pressures.
“This is a government big on spin but full of empty promises and reannouncements of projects but has shown it has an inability to deliver even in the middle of an economic boom.”