State Budget needs to deliver meaningful cost-of-living relief for West Australians

The Opposition-Alliance has urged the Premier to show some generosity to the thousands of Western Australians struggling to make ends meet with another multi-billion-dollar surplus expected this Thursday.

Shadow Treasurer Dr Steve Thomas said the massive GST windfalls delivered by the former Liberal-National government combined with a resilient iron ore price meant more money was being poured into his money bin.

“With the iron ore price remaining above the average estimated price, I expect the surplus will be $1.8 billion higher than the mid-year prediction,” Dr Thomas said.

“Based on those figures, I expect the 2022-23 surplus in the budget will be around $4 billion unless the Premier can massively increase expenditure to spend his wealth.

“And that is before we consider the additional $1.4 billion hidden by the Premier in retained earnings of trading entities like Water Corp.

“But the real secret McGowan surplus, including the forgone dividends, is over $5 billion and represents another mountain of cash that should be providing the best of services and support to the Western Australian people – but sadly is not.”

Dr Thomas said the current mountain of wealth that has fallen on Mark McGowan should have allowed him to provide better services to the WA community and to be more generous with struggling Western Australian families.

“The Opposition-Alliance has called on the government to provide a $300 million boost over the next two years to enable WA charities supporting our most vulnerable to cope with the surge in demand from WA families doing it tough,” Dr Thomas said.

“So far, that has been ignored by the McGowan Government that in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis is more focussed on stockpiling surpluses than using it to help those Western Australians that need it most.“

Opposition Leader and Leader of The Nationals WA Shane Love said Labor’s seventh Budget, due to be handed down on Thursday, was a test he doubts the Premier will pass.

“For the last six years of this Government, the WA Treasury has been gifted surplus after surplus, coming on the back of our strong royalties and the GST floor raised by the former Coalition Federal Government, with little to no benefit being felt in the community,” Mr Love said.

“Thirteen billion dollars in surpluses over three years, and yet we have a broken health system, a worsening housing crisis, rampant crime and cost-of-living through the roof.

“WA needs to see the McGowan Labor Government deliver on their commitments, not launch another raft of broken promises.”