McGowan Government delivering strong future for the Wheatbelt

The McGowan Government is delivering for the Wheatbelt, providing cost of living support for Wheatbelt residents while investing significantly in health, housing, and WA'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 Wheatbelt, providing cost of living support for Wheatbelt residents while investing significantly in health, housing, and WA'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.

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;
  • $8.2 million to upgrade WA Country Health Service staff housing, including safety and security upgrades in the Wheatbelt;
  • $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 the environment. Wheatbelt initiatives include:

  • $2.7 billion investment to transition WA's energy system for a low-carbon future, including funding for the King Rocks Wind Farm development;
  • upgrades to Western Power's north and east region networks as part of a $126 million investment to kickstart the energy grid's transition to net zero and facilitate the green energy boom;
  • $22.2 million to assist industry transition to the mandatory sheep and goat 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; and
  • $10.4 million to boost WA's emergency animal disease preparedness following overseas outbreaks of Foot and Mouth Disease and Lumpy Skin Disease.

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 Wheatbelt initiatives include:

  • $6.5 million to implement the Western Australian Aquaculture Development Plan;
  • $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; and

a $175 million boost to the jointly Commonwealth-State funded Regional Road Safety Program, to continue to deliver life-saving works on regional roads.

The 2023-24 State Budget will help to build safe, strong and fair regional communities, with initiatives in the Wheatbelt 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 Northam;
  • $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 Western Australia, 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 the Wheatbelt, including:

  • $10.4 million for a new Agricultural Machinery Training Centre at Central Regional TAFE's Muresk Institute in Northam, under construction;
  • $2.1 million for a new STEM laboratory and a primary science classroom at Merredin College;
  • $200 million for the Agricultural Supply Chain Improvement program, for freight rail upgrades including 11 rail siding upgrades, with projects currently under construction;
  • $275 million for the Bindoon Bypass along Great Northern Highway, currently under construction;
  • $80 million for upgrades to Toodyay Road, currently under construction; and
  • $250 million for upgrades to Great Eastern Highway between Coates Gully, Walgoolan to Southern Cross and Ghooli to Benari, currently under construction.

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Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:

"This Budget continues our record of delivering for the Wheatbelt - 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:

"The Wheatbelt is an agricultural powerhouse for our State, with a proud and engaged community who are passionate about their region.

"The McGowan Government is investing heavily into the Wheatbelt through the 2023-24 State Budget, to help build on economic opportunities well into the future.

"We're also committed to easing cost of living pressures for the Wheatbelt community, as well as investing heavily in access to healthcare and community safety.

"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."

Premier's office - 6552 5000

Regional development Minister's office - 6552 6900