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Budget winners and losers

A BONE bank transforming the lives of young people with tumours and spinal deformities is relocating to Midland as part of a $688 million spend for the east metropolitan region announced in the State Budget last week.

Health Minister John Day said the $10m funding allocation for PlusLife, WA’s only bone and tissue bank, would build new laboratories and freezer storage space in the Midland health precinct.

“Over the past 23 years, grafts of bone and tissue from PlusLife have transformed many lives for the better,” he said.

“Demand for these services has grown significantly and the government is committed to ensuring the long-term success of this important not-for-profit organisation.”

PlusLife managing director Anne Cowie said the new Midland headquarters at the corner of Yelverton Dr and Helena St should be completed by December 2017.

“Bone and tissue donations are required almost every day to treat patients with spinal deformities, bone cancers (mostly children), arthritic joint disease and sporting injuries, as well as facial and dental reconstruction surgery.”

An upgrade to the Toodyay Rd intersection at Stoneville and Lilydale roads as part of the government’s $24.2m safer roads funding package was also announced in the Budget.

A further $104m has been earmarked in 2016-17 for the $2 billion Forrestfield airport link, $6m for outlet works at the Mundaring Weir, $26m to expand the National Disability Insurance scheme trials, including in the Perth Hills, and a $4.1m boost to the Ballajura Police Station.

Education Minister Peter Collier announced record spending of $4.84bn on primary and secondary public school education for the 2016-17 financial year. Treasurer Mike Nahan said the funding was to accommodate an expected enrolment growth of 13 per cent by 2021.

Mr Collier said the government would continue to invest heavily in new and improved schools.

“We are investing a further $1bn over the next four years to build new schools and improve existing schools, with 14 new primary schools and seven new secondary schools to open by 2020,” he said.

But Labor Planning and Transport spokeswoman and West Swan MLA Rita Saffioti said despite enormous growth in the number of homes in the outer suburbs, there were no new primary schools funded for Caversham, Dayton or Brabham.

“The government promised to build Caversham South Primary School in 2014 in time for the 2017 school year,” she said.

“This commitment was broken in early 2015 with Mr Collier now confirming in the 2016-17 Budget the government still has no plans to build a new school in Caversham.

“This is bitterly disappointing for the community with the government failing to grasp the level of growth in the north-east corridor and plan for the education needs of local families.”

She said the only new transport commitment was for a bus lane from Ellenbrook that ended at Marshall Rd.

“There are no upgrades to Lord St and no commitment to complete the duplication of Reid Hwy between Beechboro Rd and West Swan Rd.’’

But Treasurer Mike Nahan said major transport upgrades for the region included more than $340m for the Swan Valley Bypass and Tonkin Hwy upgrades as part of the NorthLink WA project, a state-of-the-art transport link which would employ 7700 workers.

Dr Nahan said an extra $93m had been committed to Stage 2 of upgrades to Great Northern Hwy between Muchea and Wubin, as well as the start of works for the $49m Ellenbrook bus rapid transit which would reduce congestion in the eastern suburbs.

“People living in the east metropolitan region will enjoy improved transport linkages, new and upgraded schools, boosted police resources and quality healthcare as part of these investments,’’ he said.

BY SARAH BROOKES

About Sarah Brookes

Sarah is an award-winning journalist (2016 WA Media Awards - Best Three Suburban Newspaper Stories) who has covered our Mundaring and Kalamunda editions since 2011. She went to Eastern Hills Senior High School before studying chemistry and biology at university. Staring down a microscope two years into her degree she realised a future in science wasn’t for her – journalism was. Sarah lived in Europe before re-settling in Darlington, where her family has lived for three generations, with her two children. She has worked for various government agencies and Media Monitors. Sarah is a media junkie who loves talkback radio and devours the weekend papers.

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