Key Pilbara and Port Hedland infrastructure and health programs received funding the recent State Budget.
Broadly, the Budget contained a $12 billion infrastructure investment in regional WA and $158.3 million for regional health and mental health.
The $78.1 million upgrade to Lumsden Point at the Port of Port Hedland, announced before the Budget, headlined the local regional spending.
Separately, work has started on the first stage of the $51 million Nelson Point Tug Haven project, providing robust infrastructure in the port.
From the Budget, regional WA TAFEs will share in around $200 million a year for vocational education and training, career and employment advice, and TAFE support services.
Other local spending commitments included:
- $11 million to ensure there is a nurse 24/7 at emergency departments, including in the Pilbara.
- $50 million for the new Great Northern Highway Newman to Port Hedland overtaking lanes.
- $40 million of additional funding for the $76 million Port Hedland Airport Deviation project.
- $120 million to continue the Marble Bar Road upgrades.
- $4.1 million to expand the Inter-Regional Flight Network across the Mid-West, Pilbara and Kimberley, including a new route between Karratha and Geraldton, with operator Aviair planning to upgrade aircraft, increasing capacity and helping improve affordability.
- Keystart, including an increase to the Pilbara property price cap from $650,000 to $750,000 to assist households in gaining access to finance.
- An additional $5.5 million for the Port Hedland Voluntary Buy-back Scheme.
- $11.5 million to replace the fisheries patrol vessel Walcott that supports the management of marine parks and offshore commercial fisheries of WA’s northern coastline.
- $4.5 million boost to the Local Capability Fund to assist local businesses to increase their capability and competitiveness.
Of the $12 billion infrastructure spend, only eight per cent is being delivered through Royalties for Regions.
Royalties for Regions expenditure is more than $4.2 billion over the next four years.
A cap on regional airfares begins from July 1. The cap means Pilbara residents will pay no more than $299 each way for flights to and from Perth and Karratha, Newman, Port Hedland, and Paraburdoo, when booked as return flights.
Premier and Treasurer Mark McGowan said the Budget was investing in the Pilbara’s future, diversifying the regional economy, keeping WA fair and creating local jobs for the long-term.
“WA’s strong financial position enables us to provide important cost of living support for Pilbara families, while continuing to pay down debt and keep the State’s finances healthy,” he said.
“We are providing a major boost to regional health and mental health, ensuring there are more doctors, nurses and resources in the Pilbara, with continued funding to manage COVID-19.
“Our record investment in regional infrastructure, ongoing commitment to Royalties for Regions and quality service delivery will ensure the Pilbara continues to be a terrific place to live.”
More Budget details are available here.