Regional WA

The 2022-23 Budget contained commitments to spending across a range of programs and initiatives in regional WA.
The headline figures included $4.2 billion in spending under the Royalties for Regions program, and a record $12 billion investment in regional infrastructure.
The focus of spending was on supporting economic diversification, as well as addressing important health, safety and environment issues in the regions.
The investment in remote communities, regional health services and infrastructure is welcome news, given that Local Governments have been filling gaps in these areas to ensure their communities have access to essential services and infrastructure.
Some of the key initiatives contained in the Budget for regional WA included:

  • $737 million (and an additional $361 million beyond 2025-26) on regional roads jointly funded with the Commonwealth, including $500 million for the Tanami Road project and $135 million for the Pinjarra Heavy Haulage Deviation project (and an additional $88 million in 2026-27).
  • $350 million to establish a new Remote Communities Fund, to support investment in new and refurbished housing, to improve water, electricity and municipal services, and improve economic participation in remote Aboriginal communities.
  • $332 million for a major upgrade at Geraldton Port to expand capacity and facilitate new projects in the Mid-West region.
  • a further $159 million through the Regional Road Safety Program to repair, rebuild and provide road safety treatments of country roads, with total expenditure of $175 million in 2023-24.
  • $78.1 million on the construction of seawalls, bund/retaining walls and the construction of a causeway at Lumsden Point, Port Hedland.
  • $52 million for the construction of a supply base to support oil and gas operations in the Browse Basin ($45 million) and for base infrastructure for an associated chemical processing and storage facility ($7 million).
  • $48.6 million allocated to the Western Australian Regional Digital Connectivity Program to leverage funding from the Commonwealth and industry for the expansion of mobile broadband and other digital connectivity solutions in regional, rural and remote areas.
  • $15 million to undertake dredging in the Port Hedland inner harbour in 2022-23.
  • $14.6 million to address priority asset maintenance works at the Albany, Esperance, and Bunbury ports.
  • An additional $30 million to deliver the Industry and Community Development Program, as part of the Native Forest Just Transition Plan, to support workers, businesses and communities through the transition from native forestry to softwood plantations.
  • $11 million to enhance Western Australia’s aerial bushfire suppression capability through a three-year lease for a Large Air Tanker (and accompanying lead aircraft) based at the Busselton-Margaret River Airport.
  • Up to $1.6 million as part of the Disaster Recovery Construction Training Grant in 2022-23 to employers to support the training of construction workers engaged in the reconstruction of the Mid West in the aftermath of Severe Tropical Cyclone Seroja.
  • $40.4 million for a cross-agency response to address the escalation in offending and antisocial behaviour by children and young people in the Kimberley.
  • An additional $49.4 million to deliver the Government’s commitment for a staged redevelopment of the Geraldton Health Campus.
  • An additional $30.1 million to improve country ambulance services in regional Western Australia. This will support an additional 18 paid paramedics, six additional ambulances, the implementation of alternative workforce model trials in remote areas, and a satellite communications pilot.
  • An additional $18.5 million will be spent over the forward estimates period to increase the WA Country Health Service (WACHS) Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service frontline workforce.
  • $13 million to build and operate a new Albany General Dental Clinic.
  • $10 million to deliver specialist paediatric, cancer, haematology, stroke and neurology services at the Karratha Health Campus and in surrounding sites.
  • An additional $5.1 million for continuation of the 24/7 WACHS Mental Health Emergency Telehealth Service.
  • $5 million in 2022-23 to address critical regional staff accommodation priorities to support the attraction and retention of the health workforce.
  • $6.6 million over 2022-23 and 2023-24 on critical maintenance programs for schools including roof replacement, plaster glass ceiling remediation, as well as upgrades to school alarm systems, fire services and pool safety facilities.
  • $5 million for additional transportable classrooms for the 2023 school year.
  • $37.6 million will be spent on the Employer Incentive Scheme, which provides incentive payments for employers of apprentices and trainees located in the regions.
  • A further $99.4 million will be invested in Government Regional Officers’ Housing stock over 2022-23 to 2025-26.
  • An additional $33.8 million to expand police facilities in key regional areas. This comprises $30.4 million for a new District Support Facility in Broome, and $3.4 million to fit-out and lease of a new facility in Kununurra.
  • $19.1 million to facilitate regional residential land developments in Karratha and Kalgoorlie.
  • A $7.1 million increase in spending on municipal services in remote Aboriginal communities, including to develop and maintain three new community swimming pools in Blackstone, Warakurna and Warburton.

The State Government has recognised the need to invest in key services and infrastructure for regional communities, particularly in priority areas such as health and transport.

However, there remains a need for ongoing funding to ensure that regional communities have access to essential services and infrastructure.

WALGA will continue to work with the State Government to ensure that funding is directed to priority areas such as health, housing, transport and telecommunications.