STATE Treasurer Ben Wyatt has warned Western Australians they face increases in fees and charges that will likely be exacerbated due to funding hits received in the federal budget.
Mr Wyatt will deliver his first state budget in September and must come up with a repair plan for coffers that are currently more than $3 billion in deficit, with the net debt at a record $30 billion-plus and forecast to peak at more than $40 billion.
“The entire budget is predicated on increases … I don’t want to increase them dramatically, I assure you of that,” he told reporters.
“Unfortunately we are left in a position where those power bills and those water bills will go up.”
Mr Wyatt says he has been hit with a “dramatic” funding black hole due to Tuesday’s federal budget delivering a $417 million cut in education funding for the next four years and a $100 million health cut.
He complained that he was repeatedly having to deal with new issues in respect of revenue forecasts, spending, future funding assumptions, and that the federal government’s eyes were firmly fixed on the east coast of Australia.
Mr Wyatt said WA should receive a significant amount of a $10 billion National Rail Program announced in the budget, given its own Perth Metronet expansion project was well advanced.
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WA should receive above a per capita allocation of $1 billion given it’s “woefully unfair” GST returns, he said.
The WA Government received a Commonwealth commitment of $1.6 billion towards road and rail infrastructure projects, including Metronet which has a $2.5 billion first stage cost.
WA Opposition leader Mike Nahan urged the premier to break his promise and proceed with the $1.9 billion Perth Freight Link he cancelled when elected in March because it would create 6000 jobs.
The budget papers stated that the Commonwealth would still make $1.2 billion in funding available for the PFL.