A political stoush has ensued between two Esperance politicians after the release of the Langoulant report into the former Coalition government’s handling of the finances.
The Special Inquiry released by John Langoulant found the ‘Royalties for Regions program destabilised the government’s financial management processes.’
Agricultural MLC Darren West blasted the condition of infrastructure in Esperance despite the last government’s ‘diabolical’ spending.
“When Esperance came to the Agricultural Region and I went down there, on one of my first trips, I was appalled at the state of the TAFE, and I was appalled at the state of the Rec Centre, and I was appalled at the state of the Jetty,” Mr West said.
“So despite this indiscriminate, wanton spending across the State with no process, they were still unable to deal with those three major projects in Esperance.
“The Esperance foreshore project was a needed and worthwhile project , but all government spending should go through the rigours of the treasury process before they’re approved.
“The processes were appalling.”
Nationals Roe MP Peter Rundle said he stood by every dollar spent improving regional WA and said the report was politically motivated.
“As a former chair of the Great Southern Development Commission, I’m aware of the depth of the business cases within Royalties for Regions.”
“The rigour attached was massive and I was impressed with the quality of the business cases.
“In Esperance, RfR built a new primary school, improved the hospital, expanded the residential college, revitalised the foreshore, improved telecommunications and upgraded sporting facilities, to name only a few projects.”
Mr West said due to the ‘impossible position’ WA’s finances were in, the government was forced to make further cuts.
“We now pay over $1 billion a year in interest,” he said.
“We were the best performing economy in Australia in 2008, we’re now the worst.
“[The Liberals and Nationals] are out there today defending what they did.
“Their only solutions are keep spending and sell Western Power, that’s crazy.”