City of Swan Mayor Mick Wainwright believes the state budget, handed down on Thursday September 7, will have a positive effect on residents throught the City, particularly those who rely on public transport.
However he also pointed out there are several areas in Treasurer Ben Wyatt’s first budget that failed to meet community expectations.
With State debt at record highs, Cr Wainwright said he understood the difficulties the McGowan Government faced in delivering their first budget.
“Council understands this has been a difficult budget to deliver and that the first-term budgeting process can be complex,” he said.
“While we are please that continued investment in public transport, such as the relocation of the Midland train station and the extension of the Midland line to Bellevue has been made a priority, we hope the critical Ellenbrook train line will remain on track for completion in 2022.”
The Budget allocated $20 million for detailed planning for the Morley-Ellenbrook rail-line and $49 million for the Lord St duplication process, incorporating earthworks for the Ellenbrook rail line and preliminary works at the train station site.
Cr Wainwright also said he was disappointed the State Government had not followed the City’s leads in reducing interest on government fees, an issue he had addressed directly with the Treasurer.
“The economic climate is far more challenging than it was five years ago and this budget was an opportunity for the new government to help alleviate some of those pressures by reducing the interest charged by overdue debts,” he said.
“The City of Swan recently acknowledged the financial challenges of residents and ratepayers by reducing the interest charged on overdue rates to six per cent and in July this year I wrote to the Treasurer, Ben Wyatt, asking his consideration to follow the lead of the City of Swan and reduce interest on government fees such as the Emergency Services Levy to six per cent, down from the current 11 per cent.
“However the State government’s ESL component of Local Government collected rates remains at 11 per cent.”
Cr Wainwright did however welcome the State Government’s ongoing commitment to invest in education, with $20 million allocated to the new Curtin University Medical School in Midland and the construction of a new Peforming Arts Centre at Ballajura Community College.
By Liam Ducey