THE State Budget handed down last week proves what most Australians already know - our State is the wealthiest in the nation.
With a $5.7 billion surplus - a record amount of money to have in the kitty for a second year in a row - you would expect the basics a government is responsible for to be top-shelf.
Instead, we have a health system on its knees leaving Western Australians ramped at hospitals, a housing crisis with more than 18,000 people on the public housing list and labour shortages crippling our construction, small business and agricultural sectors.
Yes, there was a cash splash for our hospitals and emergency departments, but it's five years overdue.
And while Premier Mark McGowan's announcements of funding for what seems like a laundry-list of new projects seem great, they mean very little without access to labour to deliver the infrastructure he promises.
Mr McGowan pushes aside the fact he failed to deliver on social housing by pointing to an 'overheated' construction market, so how can he truly expect to deliver the extent of what has been pledged in this budget?
So what has the McGowan Labor government actually delivered over the past five years in power?
I give credit for navigating the pandemic, you can't argue we've had significantly lower hospitalisations, ICU numbers and deaths in WA.
But after five years, stable GST income, record mining royalties and limited lockdowns, shouldn't we have a health system in good nick, a housing pipeline keeping Western Australians in homes and a workforce to capitalise on the opportunity we know exists?
Instead, this government made a point of attacking sustainable industry and services in regional WA.
Attacks on native forestry.
Attacks on live export.
Attacks on rock lobster industry.
Regional basics weren't safe either.
Services which keep smaller communities alive were ducking for cover, such as School of the Air, Moora Residential College and funding for community resource centres.
Thankfully, Labor ministers were forced to put community-need first and brutal decisions to cut key services were reversed thanks only to local outrage and campaigns.
The attacks keep coming in this term of government.
Regional representation was ripped from our communities when Labor rammed electoral reform through the parliament - despite the Premier promising it wasn't on his agenda.
Mr McGowan again rushed the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill - highly sensitive legislation which will cause generational impacts in WA.
And again, to extend emergency COVID-19 powers.
You may think I'm digressing from the State Budget, but what these attacks and abuses of power show is a Premier and his Labor government arrogantly pursuing an agenda they don't consult on - a Premier and his Labor government too focused on flaunting record surpluses in the faces of the Eastern States instead of fixing fundamental problems.
What the opposition would have liked to have seen was legitimate policy aimed at relieving the pressures hitting a range of sectors.
For example, establishing a regional headworks fund - a simple but effective measure to make it more affordable to build and invest in regional WA.
With a housing crisis continuing to deepen, a reduction in headworks costs for residential and commercial builds would help people moving to regional WA, businesses boosting local economies and local governments driving regional development.
We also called for a freeze on government fees and charges to ease the pain in Western Australians' hip-pockets, worsened by the current spike in cost-of-living pressures.
Instead, the Premier increased the cost of water and power bills, vehicle registration and licence fees, at a time when WA drivers are bracing for another jump in fuel prices.
Our farmers have been hit too by the McGowan government's decision to heavily tax the sulphate to potash industry, which is essential to agriculture.
With current supplies all imported, particularly from Russia, the development of the potash industry is critical.
Clearly not in the Premier's eyes.
There are no gold stars for a Premier that has been in charge for five years, delivered two whopping budget surpluses, but failed to look after the basics.
Too many Western Australians are choosing between paying their power bill or buying food.
Too many are struggling to keep their businesses operating because they can't attract staff.
Don't be fooled by the claim this Labor government is paying down debt.
Even with a massive budget surplus for the second year in a row, the Premier has kept the cash in his piggy bank instead of making any real inroads into reducing debt.
It's time for the Premier to cut the spin and rhetoric he's become addicted to and put in the hard yards to repair the neglect of the last five years.
He had that opportunity last week in his second State Budget as Treasurer, but missed the mark.
This budget truly is too little, too late.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.