Yesterday I attended a State Government budget briefing by one of my favourite State ministers, Peter Tinley.
At the function, I gave the minister two bouquets and a brickbat.
The bouquets were to congratulate the McGowan Government on keeping WA safe, something that’s been well-reported in recent months.
The second praise involved the overall budget, whereby in the past three years, the State has shown strong discipline to balance the budget again, which has enabled the extra funding now at a time of crisis.
Of course, the WA Government has also been helped by record iron ore prices, a windfall which I believe cannot be sustained but which we all gladly grab while the money is flowing.
The brickbat was for what I believe to be a poor level of specific funding for the Goldfields.
Mr Tinley has repeated previous promises such as the $7 million extension to the Joe Lord Core Library in West Kalgoorlie, and some other promises previously made.
Many of these promises made for the Goldfields were little more than a matter of copy and pasting from the previous COVID Recovery Plan for the region.
As mayor, I would not be doing my job if I didn’t point out that there were no new levels of specific funding for Kalgoorlie-Boulder.
My hope now is that as the election approaches the Government and the other the parties such as the State Liberal and Nationals parties start rolling out much-needed promises for our city.
The first of these came last month when the leader of the Nationals WA Mia Davies announced $4.4 million for a State Government election promise from the Nationals for a major extension for netball and basketball to the current Niels Hansen Basketball Stadium on Brookman Street.
The job now is for the Liberals and Labor to match that promise.
The overall budget has to be a good one considering how WA compares to the rest of Australia, although the rest of Australia doesn’t have the flow of royalty dollars like WA.
On that matter, I note with interest the public infighting within the mining industry in Queensland, where there is concern about the level of direct opposition to the Greens by the mining industry.
I have never been in any doubt the Greens are not friends of mining, and in a town such as Kalgoorlie-Boulder, to me that has always been very clear.
At the same time, I can see where some companies may not want to be seen to be directly opposed to any party because we live in a democracy, and once government is formed by the vote then we all have to get on with each other and work together to the benefit of all Australians.
- John Bowler is the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mayor.