McGowan Government delivering strong future for the Great Southern

The McGowan Government is delivering for the Great Southern, providing cost of living support for Great Southern residents while investing significantly in health, housing, and Western Australia's transition to cleaner, stronger, reliable, and affordable energy.
  • State Budget delivers cost of living relief for regional Western Australians
  • Major investments into regional health, housing, jobs and training
  • Multi-billion-dollar package to transform WA's energy system for a cleaner, stronger future
  • More than $4 billion delivered through Royalties for Regions program

The McGowan Government is delivering for the Great Southern, providing cost of living support for Great Southern residents while investing significantly in health, housing, and Western Australia's transition to cleaner, stronger, reliable, and affordable energy.

The 2023-24 Budget features a massive $11.2 billion investment in regional infrastructure as well as billions more in regional service delivery.

The State Budget includes $4 billion in Royalties for Regions expenditure over the next four years towards initiatives that strengthen regional communities and ensure services remain close to where people live.

Regional Western Australians will benefit from the McGowan Government's $715 million commitment to deliver further cost of living relief, including providing every WA household with a $400 electricity credit and additional targeted support totalling $826 for households who need it most.

As part of its commitment to keeping power and water affordable for all Western Australians, the McGowan Government will spend $2.7 billion over the next four years to subsidise the costs of providing water and electricity to regional residents.

To continue to ease cost-of-living pressures in the regions, the McGowan Government will deliver a $20.7 million boost to meet increased demand for the highly successful Regional Airfare Zone Cap, providing affordable airfares for regional residents.

The McGowan Government is delivering a record $2.7 billion additional investment into WA's health system, with the 2023-24 State Budget featuring a significant investment into regional health and mental health, including:

  • more than $2.2 billion per annum on regional health and mental health services;
  • $28.5 million for initiatives to attract and retain key health and mental health professionals, primarily to work in regional WA, with priority given to hard-to-staff sites;
  • $24.4 million to extend the Mental Health Emergency Telehealth Service, providing 24/7 mental health support and allowing country doctors to make referrals whenever needed;
  • $2.1 million to provide an extra 100 carparking bays at Albany Health Campus;
  • $6.3 million to extend regional cancer services; and
  • an additional $6.7 million towards Regional Renal Support Teams.

The 2023-24 State Budget strengthens the McGowan Government's record investment into housing, including:

  • boosting the commitment to refurbish and deliver Government Regional Officer Housing by $61.6 million;
  • $49 million to partner with community housing providers to provide 100 social homes across regional WA in a supported landlord model for rough sleepers;
  • $450 million into the Social Housing Investment Fund to deliver more social housing across the State; and
  • $12 million over four years to deliver more development ready land throughout regional WA, through the Regional Development Assistance Program.

The 2023-24 State Budget is a major investment into WA's future, tackling climate change through a $3 billion package, ensuring the State has cleaner, stronger, reliable, and affordable energy into the future as well as investing in protecting the environment. Great Southern initiatives include:

  • $2.8 billion investment to transition WA's energy system for a low-carbon future;
  • $22.2 million to assist industry transition to the mandatory sheep and goat electronic identification (eID) system to bolster WA's animal biosecurity defences;
  • $20.2 million to extend vital drought resilience initiatives helping future-proof Western Australian farms;
  • $5 million to expand the WaterSmart Farms program to support small-scale desalination projects on farms in the region;
  • $10.4 million to boost WA's emergency animal disease preparedness following overseas outbreaks of Foot and Mouth Disease and Lumpy Skin Disease; and
  • $18.8 million to continue the Healthy Estuaries WA program to improve water quality of estuaries across the region.

The McGowan Government's 2023-24 State Budget continues to deliver on the WA Jobs Plan, diversifying regional economies, creating new jobs for the future and developing a pipeline of skills in the regions. Key Great Southern initiatives include:

  • $6.5 million to implement the Western Australian Aquaculture Development Plan;
  • $4 million towards the activation of the Yerriminup Agribusiness Precinct near Mount Barker;
  • $2 million from the New Industries Fund to support regional entrepreneurs in the innovation sector;
  • $2.5 million to increase the travel accommodation allowance for regional TAFE students;
  • $2.9 million to provide a weekly allowance for regional students studying a Diploma of Nursing; and
  • $6.8 million for upgrades at Agricultural Colleges around the State.

The McGowan Government continues its record investment into regional roads and transport projects, including:

  • a further $407 million on regional road projects and initiatives being invested in this Budget, bringing the total investment over the next four years to $5.3 billion;
  • a $175 million boost to the jointly Commonwealth-State funded Regional Road Safety Program, to continue to deliver life-saving works on regional roads;
  • $37 million towards the Menang Drive-Chester Pass Road grade separation project;
  • an additional $40 million towards the Albany Ring Road;
  • $17.4 million for major technology upgrades at the Southern Ports Authority; and
  • $6.8 million to upgrade electrical infrastructure at the ports of Albany and Bunbury;

The 2023-24 State Budget will help to build safe, strong and fair regional communities, with initiatives in the Great Southern including:

  • $11.7 million to extend Operation Regional Shield, continuing to deliver police into regional communities experiencing youth crime issues;
  • $11.7 million to continue the Target 120 rollout across the regions, including in Albany;
  • $1.1 million to continue the Respectful Relationships Teaching Support Program and the provision of culturally appropriate services for victims of family and domestic violence in regional areas;
  • $4.9 million to continue the Regional Athlete Support Program to help regionally-based talented athletes meet their full potential; and
  • $700,000 to continue the Rural, Regional and Remote Network program to support regional women.

The McGowan Government will also invest $77 million to manage and protect Aboriginal cultural heritage in WA, including support for new Local Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Services.

This year's Budget builds on the diverse range of projects and programs already underway in Great Southern, including:

  • upgrades to tourism infrastructure including $3.3 million for upgrades at The Gap and $3.2 million for trails at Mount Adelaide and Mount Clarence, currently underway;
  • $22.2 million for a new trade's workshop at South Regional TAFE's Albany campus, currently under construction;
  • $8.5 million for upgrades at Albany Senior High School, currently under construction;
  • $1.5 million for a new STEM classroom at North Albany Senior High School;
  • $1.5 million for a STEM classroom upgrade at Mount Barker Community College;
  • $750,000 towards the redevelopment of the Mount Barker Memorial Swimming Pool, currently underway; and
  • $1.6 million for major upgrades to the Albany Surf Life Saving Club, currently underway.

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Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:

"This Budget continues our record of delivering for the Great Southern - helping to ease cost of living pressures and investing in the region's future.

"My Government is investing a record amount into regional infrastructure, and delivering a significant boost for health and housing in the regions.

"Our regions have enormous potential to benefit from the transition to a prosperous low-carbon future, and our investments will deliver cleaner, stronger, reliable and affordable energy for the regions for generations to come.

"WA's responsible financial management provides the opportunity to make significant investments in what matters to Western Australians, while keeping the Budget in a strong position for future generations.

"Our WA Jobs Plan is working, creating long-term jobs across the State, while diversifying WA's economy, driving new job opportunities in high tech manufacturing, clean energy, agriculture, tourism and defence industries."

Comments attributed to Regional Development Minister Don Punch:

"We're focused on alleviating cost of living pressures, improving community safety and delivering vital infrastructure to the Great Southern as part of the McGowan Government Budget.

"We're also putting a focus on health services for the region, improving access to doctors and treatments for patients in regional areas.

"There are so many fantastic opportunities in the Great Southern, and this Budget ensures as a State Government that we're capitalising on those opportunities and delivering outcomes for the community.

"Our significant regional investment continues in the 2023-24 State Budget, with $11.2 billion committed to the regions to deliver important projects and improve lives across the State."

Comments attributed to Albany MLA Rebecca Stephens:

"The 2023-24 State Budget provides significant investment in areas I know are important to the people of the Albany - health, housing and cost of living.

"It also delivers on our commitment to create local jobs and upskill our communities, with a big boost to our training sector.

"We're continuing our record investment in regional roads and transport projects, including $37 million towards the Menang Drive-Chester Pass Road grade separation project and an additional $40 million towards the Albany Ring Road."

Comments attributed to Warren-Blackwood MLA Jane Kelsbie:

"This Budget provides welcome cost of living relief for families and households in Warren-Blackwood and features major investments for regional WA.

"We're also investing in emerging industries and training to support the diversification of our regions and skill up our local communities for the jobs of the future."

Premier's office - 6552 5000

Regional Development Minister's office - 6552 6900