When the Nationals formed an alliance government in 2008, regional Western Australia had suffered through decades of neglect from consecutive governments.
The Nationals quickly set to work reversing this, through the implementation of Royalties for Regions.
RfR was a game changer for those who live, work and invest in regional WA.
The programme delivered more than $7 billion back in to the regions through 4000 projects. RfR accounts for less than 3 per cent of the total State Budget each year.
People in regional WA should not be made to feel ashamed for expecting government services, and RfR is not a scapegoat for WA’s fiscal position.
RfR quarantined 25 per cent of royalties to be spent solely on the 25 per cent of the State’s population who live in regional WA, and keep the wheels of our State’s economy turning.
Before entering Parliament I spent several years sitting on the WA Regional Development Trust.
The Trust provides an important role in providing independent and impartial advice on how RfR spending is allocated.
I, along with the other members of the Trust, took this role very seriously. I can guarantee that between our scrutiny of the programme as a whole, and the robust review process facilitated by the Development Commissions and through the Cabinet process, funding was spent wisely and with good governance.
Esperance received its fair share of funding from RfR over the last eight years. Major projects such as the new Esperance Primary School, extension of the Esperance Residential College, upgrade of the Esperance District Hospital and the foreshore revitalisation project were funded by RfR.
Sporting and community groups such as the Esperance Bowling Club, Esperance Bay Yacht Club, Escare, Esperance Tjaltjraak Native Title Aboriginal Corporation, the Rotary Club of Esperance Bay and the Business Development Centre were also supported through RfR.
There isn’t enough room in this column to list all the projects RfR has supported throughout the Goldfields-Esperance region! When in Government, The Nationals WA committed to funding the Esperance TAFE Campus, upgrading the Indoor Sports Stadium and finishing works out at the Lucky Bay Campgrounds.
I was proud to stand next to Terry Redman, the then-Minister for Regional Development while he made those announcements.
I was relieved to see that the Labor Government honoured that commitment in the latest state budget, although I’m disappointed that construction of the new TAFE campus has been delayed for several years, and funding for Lucky Bay was reduced.
I am proud to be part of the team committed to regional WA.
The Nationals WA will continue to back and advocate State Government investment in regional WA to ensure it doesn’t fall into the same dilapidated state it did under governments before ours.
WA suffered greatly under years of city-centric governments.
Our regional communities deserve better than that, and we won’t give up the fight on their behalf.