The Liberal National Government will invest heavily in areas of strength in the Western Australian economy in order to capitalise on the State’s comparative advantages in mining and petroleum, agriculture, fisheries and tourism.
Treasurer Mike Nahan said since being elected in 2008, the Liberal National Government had focused on building infrastructure to complement the State’s natural advantages.
“Because of our investments, we are now well-placed to take advantage of the growing middle class in Asian countries who want to visit WA to buy our produce and experience our pristine
environment,” Dr Nahan said.
“In this State Budget through Royalties for Regions, we will invest a further $22.1 million over four years in marine and national parks in the Kimberley, including the creation of the Great Kimberley Marine Park, the Kimberley National Park and a new national park at Horizontal Falls.”
To date, $103 million has been invested in the Kimberley Science Strategy.”
The Government would also invest $20 million of Royalties for Regions in the WA Open for Business project to help the agriculture and food sectors increase trade and investment activities in the regions.
“Our new Brand WA - to be revealed mid-year - would enable us to market our well-established reputation as a producer of clean, premium and safe produce, as demand from our Asian neighbours continues to grow,” the Treasurer said.
In announcing an extra $20 million for innovation, Premier and Science Minister Colin Barnett said the Government would not use a ‘picking winners’ approach to investment.
“We don’t want to indulge in a scatter-gun approach. We have developed expertise in certain areas and we want to leverage those successes,” Mr Barnett said.
“We are investing $20 million over four years for Government departments to work with relevant industries to support the researchers, innovators and start-up businesses which have
the greatest potential to strengthen, broaden and build the Western Australian economy.”
The Premier said the $20 million would be in addition to the $30 million per annum already allocated to the innovation space.
“We are already spending tens of millions on defence industries, shipbuilding and science, as well as significant funding for the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, the Telethon Kids Institute and the Sarich Neuroscience Research Institute,” Mr Barnett said.
He said the Government would invest an extra $30 million over four years to secure major events within the State and to allow the Perth Convention Bureau to attract more conventions.
Another $16.9 million over four years to Tourism WA for destination marketing was also announced in the Budget.
“This is money well spent because it will stimulate business activity which, in turn, will provide jobs and livelihoods for thousands of West Australians,” the Premier said.
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman also announced that Royalties for Regions would provide an extra $50 million for new programs under the Seizing the Opportunity Agriculture initiative.
“Seizing the Opportunity Agriculture initiative is transforming the agricultural sector in this State through a whole-of-government approach to enable the agrifood industry to capitalise on rising
global demand and strengthening regional communities where agrifood is a major economic activity,” Mr Redman said.
The mines and petroleum sector will benefit from the extension of the Exploration Incentive Scheme and further funding to the Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia.
In aquaculture, a multi-species hatchery will be established in Albany and further aquaculture zones will be developed in 2016-17.
The Government will also invest $49.3 million Royalties for Regions for Transform Peel, which will comprise a business park, food zone and integrated water initiative in Nambeelup, and is expected to deliver 33,000 jobs by 2050.
- $20 million WA Open for Business project to help the agriculture and food sectors to increase trade and investment activities in the regional sector
- $6.7 million over five years to 2019-20 for the Western Australian Biodiversity Science Institute
- $1.5 million in 2016-17 for the maintenance of pines that are part of the endangered Carnaby’s cockatoo habitat and food source
- $6.7 million in 2016-17 to replant 2,200ha damaged by the Waroona bushfires Mines and Petroleum
- Exploration Incentive Scheme - $10 million annually from 2017-18 to 2019-20
- Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia - $6 million to 2018-19
- Multi-species shellfish hatchery in Albany - $2.3 million over four years
- Further Aquaculture Development Zones - $1.3 million in 2016-17
- $30 million extra to attract big business, sporting and cultural events to WA, which will activate new infrastructure including Perth Stadium
- $16.9 million over four years to support an increase in ‘Destination Marketing’ activities
- $268 million over four years for regional tourism infrastructure, including:
o new Kimberley National Park
o Regional Visitor Centre grants
o Great Kimberley Marine Park
o Western Australian Caravan and Camping Action Plan
- $1 million to support Chinese New Year package
- An extra $20 million over four years for innovation package