WESTERN AUSTRALIA 2023-24 STATE BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS
The 2023-24 Budget delivers cost of living support for all Western Australians and some significant investments in the health system, boost housing supply, and continue WA’s transition to clean energy.
Cost of Living Support
The Budget includes more than $715 million of cost of living measures to support Western Australians.
■ All Western Australian households will receive at least $400 of energy bill relief to ease cost of living pressures faced by the community.
■ Additional support will be provided to those that are most in need, with $826 of total support available for around 350,000 households eligible for the Energy Assistance Payment.
■ In addition, Hardship Utilities Grant Scheme payments will be increased by 10 per cent for those who are in financial hardship and are unable to pay their utility bills, with grants of up to $640 per household, or $1,060 for households in the north of the State.
■ An additional $20.7 million will be spent towards the successful Regional Airfare Zone Cap Scheme to support affordable flights for regional residents.
■ The Seniors’ Cost of Living Rebate will also be increased in line with inflation at a cost of $15.6 million.
■ Small businesses across the State will receive a credit of $650 on their power bills, in recognition of higher overheads and costs.
Taking Action on Climate Change
This Budget invests $3 billion to take action on climate change and achieve net zero emissions by 2050 – laying the foundations for Western Australia’s cleaner, affordable and reliable energy future.
This includes $2.8 billion to deliver on the plan to decarbonise our electricity grid and replace State-owned coal-fired power stations with renewables by 2030.
In this Budget, an additional $2.7 billion is being invested bringing our total new investment since 2021 to an unprecedented $10 billion.
■ $841 million is committed for hospital services, as well as $78 million for costs related to WA Health’s response to COVID-19.
■ $28.5 million for workforce attraction and retention including paying up to $12,000 of HECS-HELP loans for 350 newly qualified nurses and midwives commencing employment in regional WA, with priority given to hard to staff sites, plus funding for wrap-around support for up to 1,200 graduates in the hospitals.
Diversifying the Economy, Future Jobs
The 2023-24 Budget includes $463 million in new economic infrastructure and diversification initiatives. This brings the McGowan Government’s investment in initiatives to drive economic diversification to more than $3.8 billion in this term of Government.
■ $40 million Sustainable Geoscience Investments package to accelerate critical minerals discoveries, to help meet demand for minerals used in new battery technologies.
■ $35 million top-up of the Industrial Land Development Fund, prioritised towards planning and de-constraining initiatives to attract investment to Pilbara strategic industrial areas.
■ $28 million to support the State’s invest and trade initiatives, including establishing a new Invest and Trade WA Hub in Texas to enhance our relationship with the Americas.
■ $15 million of additional funding for tourism initiatives, including attracting additional major and business events to Perth.
■ $13 million to continue to attract international students back to Perth, including marketing activities and support for accommodation and English-language training.
Investing in our Regions
The 2023-24 Budget continues to invest heavily in regional WA through Royalties for Regions, with $4 billion allocated to the program over the next four years. The Government has committed a massive $11.2 billion investment in regional infrastructure, of which only 9 per cent is funded by Royalties for Regions. This includes $5.3 billion in regional road funding.
■ $342 million increase in spending on regional health and mental health initiatives, including the continuation of the Mental Health Emergency Telehealth Service and additional investment in WA Health’s regional workforce.
■ $20.2 million for Future Drought Fund programs to build farm and regional community resilience.
■ A further $20.7 million for the Regional Airfare Zone Cap scheme.
■ $6.5 million towards implementation of the Aquaculture Development Plan for Western Australia.
Investing in Education and Training
This Budget includes an additional $965 million for education and training initiatives.
■ $325.1 million for delivery of primary and secondary education, including increased supports for students with a disability and eligible students with an additional language or dialect.
■ $38.6 million to improve the wellbeing of students through pastoral care services and student support strategies under the National Student Wellbeing Program.
■ $93.4 million for our training sector, including new and expanded initiatives that support students in the regions to access training, women to enter apprenticeships in non-traditional fields and for Aboriginal people to gain employment.
- $4.2 million for a $2,000 completion grant and a tool safety equipment rebate of up to $500 for construction apprentices.
- $3.5 million for the expansion of the Heavy Vehicle Driving Operations Training Program to the Kimberley and Pilbara.
Investing in Housing
The 2023-24 Budget delivers a $750 million boost for housing supply and housing choice initiatives, with a particular focus on supporting those most in need.
■ $511 million boost for social housing and homelessness in this Budget, increasing total investment to $2.6 billion over the next four years.
■ This includes a $450 million increase in funding to the Social Housing Investment Fund, which increases the total number of social houses to be added to 4,000, with 1,200 already delivered.
■ $48 million in training initiatives to expand the residential construction workforce, which will accelerate construction of the current pipeline of homes and expand capacity to deliver new housing supply to keep pace with our growing population. This comprises:
- Boosting the Base Employer Grant from $10,000 to $12,000 for apprentices.
- Expanding the Group Training Wages subsidy to include residential and commercial construction sector apprentices. ƒ A $2,000 training completion payment for apprentices.
- Targeted $11 million visa subsidy scheme to attract more skilled migrants to the industry.
■ $12 million increase to the Regional Development Assistance Program to boost housing and land supply in regional WA.
Building Stronger and Fairer Communities
The McGowan Government is using its strong budget position to deliver initiatives that support the State’s most vulnerable and encourage communities across the State to thrive.
■ $1.3 billion increase in State contributions to the National Disability Insurance Scheme, supporting an increase in the number of Western Australian participants.
■ $52.5 million boost for family and domestic violence (FDV) initiatives, including funding for refuge and safe house service providers, and connecting victim-survivors with the services they need, through a new FDV Hub in Broome and extending the operation of the Mirrabooka and Kalgoorlie FDV Hubs.
■ $18.9 million to support legal services for people in need, including funding for Community Legal Centres and to support Legal Aid WA to attract private practitioners.
In response to the destructive once-in-a-generation Ex-Tropical Cyclone Ellie, the Government has allocated more than $322 million to support affected communities in the Kimberley.
■ $80 million for emergency road recovery works and to repair flood affected internal community and access roads.
■ $42 million for a Freight Assistance Package.
■ $33 million for a Temporary Accommodation Package.
Initiatives to Support Aboriginal Wellbeing
The McGowan Government continues to make further investments to support the wellbeing of Aboriginal people and Close the Gap, with a $281.5 million increase in funding in this Budget.
■ $77 million in ongoing operational costs associated with the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act and funding for Local Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Services to better protect Aboriginal heritage sites and support engagement with Traditional Owners.
■ $31.1 million over four years to continue the Aboriginal Community Connectors Program.
■ $6 million to establish the Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation Peak body; and to continue to support the Aboriginal Health Council of WA.
■ $5.8 million for a one-year extension of the Driving Access and Equity Program, improving access to job opportunities.
The McGowan Labor Government is committed to continuing its work towards achieving gender equality.
■ $15 million increase to the Community Sporting and Recreation Facilities Fund, including upgrades to changerooms to ensure they are fit for women’s sports.
■ $700,000 for the Rural, Regional and Remote Network to represent the voice of women across the State.
Investing in Arts, Sport and Recreation
The 2023-24 Budget includes new investment in major community infrastructure projects, to ensure our thriving arts, culture and sporting communities have access to state-of-the-art facilities.
■ $15 million increase to the Community Sporting and Recreation Facilities Fund to boost community participation in sport and recreation through development of sustainable and quality facilities at a local level.
■ $250 million for a new Asset Maintenance Fund to be allocated to the maintenance of State Government assets, including our cultural, sporting and entertainment venues and facilities for delivery of core services.