The 2022-23 State Budget includes $450 million for initiatives aimed at supporting vulnerable people, including family and domestic violence programs, protection and support for children, reduction of youth crime and support for people living with disability. As the peak body representing WA Local Governments, WALGA has been advocating for additional Government funding in these areas, particularly with respect to family and domesticviolence and protection and support for young people.  WALGA welcomes this support from the State Government.

In addition, the Budget includes $350 million to support remote Aboriginal communities.  WALGA has long advocated for improvements to the delivery of services in remote Aboriginal communities so the Remote Communities Fund is welcomed.

The Budget highlights the rising costs to all levels of Government of the increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters.  The Emergency Services Levy (ESL) charges for property owners in the metropolitan area will increase by 5% to fund the ongoing costs of critical fire and emergency services across the State. There is an additional $67 million to support emergency services.  

Key announcements include:
  • $160.1 million to support community service providers and not for profits
  • $34.4 million boost to family and domestic violence programs, including$7.7 million for FDV Response Teams, $14.7 million to create a FDV hub in Armadale and $4.5 million for FDV programs in the Kimberley. 
  • $114 million for the child protection system and services to protect vulnerable children and their families including $75 million for frontline staff and services to support children in care and help children remain at home safely, and $23.9 million to expand support services to families with children at risk of coming into care. 
  • $40.4 million to support young people and reduce youth crime in the Kimberley
  • $95.7 million to support people living with a disability including funding for the Disability Transition Care Pilot and for the statutory review of the Disability Services Act 1993
  • $11.1 million to expand the Target 120 program from 11 to 20 locations.
  • Additional $152.8 million for ongoing response to the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, including funding the costs of the National Redress Scheme and civil litigation.
Police and justice
An additional $16.4 million will be invested in new staff to support the additional 950 police officers being employed by the State Government.  Other key commitments include:
  • $60.9 million for additional COVID-19 related policing measures
  • $11.1 million for the new Armadale courthouse and police complex
  • $47.9 million to upgrade police information and communications technology
  • $118 million through the Road Trauma Trust Account for road safety programs. 
Social housing and homelessness
An additional $408 million has been committed to housing and homelessness measures, bringing the State Government’s funding over the last two budgets to $1.3 billion.  This funding includes:
  • $350 million Remote Communities Fund which will provide support for the investment in new and refurbished housing, improvements to water, electricity and other  services, and assistance to improve economic participation in remote Aboriginal Communities
  • $19.7 million for a Perth Aboriginal Short Stay Accommodation Facility
  • A range of tax reform measures to promote greater housing affordability and diversity
  • A 50% land tax concession  to encourage greater investment in build-to-rent developments, which will help increase rental accommodation stock
  • $19.1 million for new residential land development in key regional cities of Karratha and Kalgoorlie
  • Permanent increase of income eligibility limits for Keystart applicants
  • Keystart pilot project for high density housing centred around transport hubs.   
Although welcome, WALGA argues that more needs to be done to facilitate the provision of housing in regional areas.

Responding to and preparing for natural disasters
The Budget includes an increase in the average Emergency Services Levy (ESL) by 5 per cent in the metropolitan area $15 or 4.8 percent below 2019-20 levels (due to the Government’s decision to pass on the impact of lower gross rental valuations as part of the 2020-21 Budget).  The total budgeted income for ESL is $394,415,000 over 2022/23. 
Relevant commitments include:
  • $15.9 million for major upgrades to the State’s Emergency website, Emergency WA
  • $13.5 million as the State’s co-contribution for participation in the Commonwealth Government’s Regional Connectivity Program Round 2, providing mobile telecommunications infrastructure and access provisions for State emergency services and other government and non-government users in regional WA
  • $12.5 million to establish new aviation and maintenance facilities base at Jandakot Airport
  • $11 million over four years to secure the first Large Air Tanker to be based permanently in WA every year, during the peak bushfire season (December to March)
  • $4.2 million over 2021-22 & 2022-23 for the deployment of more officers and contractors to assist in the recovery from recent natural disasters, including Tropical Cyclone Seroja and the Wooroloo bushfire
  • $3.9 million to upgrade the Direct Brigade Alarm Network for building alarms across the State to 4G connectivity
  • $1.7 million in 2022-23 on the development of the Project Definition Plan and identification of a suitable site for the WA Emergency Management Training Centre
  • $717,000 over 2021-22 & 2022-23 for additional resources to assist with the Bushfire Framework Review, including the delivery of the new mapping methodology of Bushfire Prone Areas.
WALGA welcomes the announcement of an additional $4.2 million to provide more support to the 24 Local Governments affected by major emergency events in the last 12 months, ie Wooroloo bushfire, Tropical Cyclone (STC) Seroja, Shackleton Complex/Narrogin East Bushfires and other recovery programs.  WALGA continues to advocate for the State to provide ongoing support to Local Governments and their communities after major incidents, particularly to assist in the regional coordination of recovery efforts.

Ensuring positive outcomes for Aboriginal people
$600 million has been committed in the State Budget to support the State Government’s Aboriginal Empowerment Strategy and Closing the Gap Implementation Plan, which aim to improve economic and social opportunities for Aboriginal people. 

Key initiatives include:
  • $350 million Remote Communities Fund to support improved water, electricity and municipal services and increase housing availability in remote communities
  • $19.7 million to construct an Aboriginal Short Stay Accommodation facility in the Perth metropolitan area
  • $16.6 million to expand earlier intervention services into regional areas
  • $12.4 million for implementation of the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2021, including the co-design process.
Local Government is a party to Closing the Gap through the Australian Local Government Association and supports the funding of programs and services that align with the priority reforms set out in the National Agreement.