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About 45 people attended the budget briefing at Sandalford Wines hosted by Josh Frydenberg and Ken Wyatt.

Treasurer makes dash to valley ahead of election

TREASURER Josh Frydenberg made a rare visit to the Swan Valley this week to meet with and answer questions from businesses and residents of Hasluck.

About 45 people, including mayors and councillors from the Cities of Swan, Kalamunda and Gosnells and the Shire of Mundaring, attended the Hasluck Budget Briefing Forum at Sandalford Wines with six attendees asking questions of the Federal Treasurer.

Kalamunda mayor Margaret Thomas asked two questions, one as the chief executive of Retirees WA and the second in her capacity as mayor on the National Cabinet’s decision to increase the threshold of projects considered by Infrastructure Australia from $100 million to $250 million.

“This decision has resulted in Infrastructure Australia advising the ten outer metro growth councils, including my own council in Kalamunda, that our submission, which has taken three years to meet all the requirements and tens of thousands of dollars to prepare, will now not be assessed,” she said.

“We have never seen ten local governments working together on such a worthy cause for the benefit of a million people living in Perth’s outer metro.

“This submission was to address the much needed community infrastructure gap we have in outer metro Perth and has been a high profile project for the past three years.”

Mr Frydenberg responded the change would increase efficiency of Infrastructure Australia and that projects under the revised threshold would still go through State and Federal approval processes.

Gosnells mayor Terresa Lynes supported Cr Thomas’ grievance before asking the Treasurer about funding and resources to boost defence in WA.

“There’s absolutely a willingness and a readiness to invest more in defence in WA,” Mr Frydenberg responded.

“We’re doing that with both our ship capability and our defence capability plan which is some $270 million strong.

“There is going to be more investment here in WA.”

Other questions related to allowing pensioners to return to work without impacting their benefits, funding for home-schooling, the development of Australia’s first integrated rare earths refinery in Western Australia and tax reform.

In response to whether the Commonwealth would raise the GST and reduce income tax if re-elected, Mr Frydenberg said there would be no change to the GST but there was currently tax reform taking effect.

“We’re repairing the budget without increasing taxes,” he said.

In closing, Hasluck MP Ken Wyatt said the Federal Government had invested heavily in local projects.

“With Metronet, the Midland Station has been provided a significant boost to about $380 million,” he said.

“That will take the Midland train station from its old location to near the hospital to build local interaction with the CBD of Midland.”

He also named the recently announced $100 million grade separation of the train line at Great Eastern Highway and Morrison Road and $50 million Tonkin Highway/Ellenbrook Interchange as projects funded in conjunction with State and local governments.

By Claire Ottaviano

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Echo News gives readers an alternative to other media outlets in WA and enjoys a very high rate of readership in its distribution area. Our Echo News team are a small group of devoted individuals who work hard to give the local community an easy to read, yet intelligent mix of local community stories.

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