Despite bleak finances Yanchep train still a goer

The McGowan Government says it is committed to building the train line to Yanchep.

TRANSPORT Minister Rita Saffioti says despite the state’s finances the McGowan Government is committed to delivering its election commitments, including the Yanchep extension as part of Metronet.

On Friday, April 7 Yanchep News Online asked Ms Saffioti if despite the state’s Budget problems the McGowan Government would go ahead with Metronet and if so would the line to Yanchep be the first part of Metronet to be built.

Ms Saffioti did not say if the Yanchep line would be the first part of Metronet to be built.

On Thursday the McGowan Government revealed the economic and fiscal overview indicated a $1.2 billion downward revision to revenue from pre-election estimates and that net debt was now forecast to reach $42.3b by June 30, 2020.

It was also revealed Treasurer Ben Wyatt had written to the Federal Treasurer requesting a $226 million GST top-up grant to effectively maintain Western Australia’s GST relativity at the 0.376 level that applied in 2014-15, consistent with arrangements for the past two years.

Mr Wyatt and Under Treasurer Michael Barnes that in two months, general government revenue had been revised down by $1.2b since pre-election forecasts, which was primarily a result of the lower than expected GST relativity ($735m), a further $199m revision to forecast GST grants for the impact of lower population growth in WA and the impact of declining land valuations on forecast land tax and metropolitan region improvement tax collections ($239m).

Mr Wyatt said despite early and tentative signs the state’s economy could be stabilising, the deficit in 2019-20 was now forecast to reach $1.1b, compared with the $535m pre-election forecast.

“Key challenges for the state include higher net debt levels, now forecast to reach $42.3 billion by June 30, 2020, a record high underemployment rate and unprecedented low wage and population growth,’’ he said.

Mr Wyatt said the 2017-18 Budget was scheduled for September 7, to allow the government to fully consider Budget repair measures.

On Friday, April 7 Opposition Leader Mike Nahan said the McGowan Labor Government had laid down the groundwork to break a series of election promises which they knew they could not fund prior to the election.

Dr Nahan said Western Australians must prepare for increases in taxes, household charges and cuts to frontline services.

“The Labor Government has confirmed household charges will rise by $300,’’ he said.

“Make no mistake, this is to pay for Mark McGowan’s $5 billion of election commitments.

“While the Government has come out feigning shock at the state of the finances, nothing has changed from the pre-election forecasts.

“The truth is, there are absolutely no financial surprises in the Government’s update.

“The Labor Opposition was repeatedly warned of write downs to GST revenue, especially due to slowing population growth.

“Labor chose to take political advantage rather than doing the hard work of developing a credible and realistic financial plan”.

“They knew the state of the finances, but they disregarded it and went on their spending spree and Western Australian households will now pay for it.”