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Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg announce the 2019 Federal Budget.

What the 2019 Federal Budget means for WA

Yesterday’s Federal Budget provides the first surplus in more than a decade and made headlines for generous tax cuts, cash handouts and infrastructure spending. But how much did it actually deliver for WA and Western Australians?

GST

Firstly, addressing a long-standing priority, rules around the $69 billion GST revenue distribution to the states have changed, with WA the main beneficiary in this year’s Budget. Our total payment has risen from $9.8 billion to $11.1 billion.

While the change is welcome, the Budget unfortunately also forecasts a $10 billion downturn in overall GST revenue, triggered by the property downturn in Sydney and Melbourne. So WA will be getting a bigger slice of the pie but the pie itself is forecast to shrink in coming years.

Infrastructure (*see more details below)

Of the massive $100 billion fund allocated to infrastructure over a decade, Western Australia will receive an additional $1.6 billion for priority regional and urban road and rail.

Almost half of the funding from the Roads of Strategic Importance Scheme ($535m) will be spent on the road from Karratha to Tom Price ($248m), with the remainder to include $75m for the WA sections of the roads from Halls Creek to Alice Springs and the road from Port Augusta to Perth ($50m).

The $122m urban congestion funding earmarked for WA includes freeway upgrades and parking stations around Perth and to the city’s south.

Hospitals

Some extra funding has been awarded to hospitals, with the Morrison Government allocating $28 million over five years to St John Ambulance to trial urgent care centres in WA and $25 million to upgrade the Peel Health Campus.

Regional digital connectivity

The Government will provide $2 million in 2019‑20 for a detailed feasibility study to assess options for improving digital connectivity in the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia.

International sports

One interesting allocation for WA that didn’t make it into the Budget speech is the quirky $300,000 in 2019‑20 to support the Australian Minifootball Federation to host the 2019 Minifootball Federation World Cup in Perth. It’s more commonly known as indoor soccer but the measurement-orientated name does make you smile.

Overall, the real winners of the Budget are individuals and small to medium-sized businesses. Large tax cuts, infrastructure spends and education and health expenditure will also make the Budget popular.

Big business may be disappointed, but unsurprised, at not finding many nuggets in the Budget. Additional cuts to the R&D tax incentive, shrinking of the Growing Business Investment fund from around $350 million to $172 million and a further $49 million in savings found from “efficiencies” in the Entrepreneurs’ Programme and the Industry Growth Centres Initiative, signify a policy shift.

*Priority regional and urban transport infrastructure

An additional $932.6 million from 2019‑20 for Western Australia. The funding includes:

  • an additional $348.5 million for Tonkin Highway upgrades;
  • $207.5 million for the Oats Street, Welshpool Road and Mint Street level crossing removals;
  • $140 million for the Albany Ring Road;
  • an additional $121.6 million for the Bunbury Outer Ring Road; and
  • $115 million for the upgrade of the Fremantle Traffic Bridge.

Roads of Strategic Importance

$535 million to specific projects in Western Australia, including:

  • $248 million for the Karratha to Tom Price corridor;
  • $75 million for the Alice Springs to Halls Creek corridor;
  • $70 million for the Newman to Katherine corridor;
  • $70 million for the Wheatbelt Secondary Freight Network;
  • $50 million for the Port Augusta to Perth corridor; and
  • $22 million for the Pinjarra Heavy Haulage Deviation.

Urban Congestion Fund

An allocation of $121.8 million to specific projects

  • $50 million for the Kwinana and Mitchell Freeways;
  • $20 million for the Lloyd Street Extension, Hazelmere;
  • $16 million for Mandurah Station Parking Bays;
  • $13.3 million for Abernathy Road, Kewdale;
  • $10 million for Lakelands Station; and
  • $10 million for Thomas and Nicholson Road, Oakford.

Jennifer Kirk is an Associate Director in Cannings Purple’s Government Relations team and spent more than seven years working for the Commonwealth government, including leading stakeholder and regional engagement on important economy policy reform during her time in the Treasury Perth office. If you need help mapping out your pre-election engagement, Contact Jennifer.

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