Lip-service to regional WA’s needs

Mia DaviesCountryman
Pilbara candidate Scott Bourne WA Nationals leader Mia Davis and Mining and Pastoral Region candidate Kieran Dart
Camera IconPilbara candidate Scott Bourne WA Nationals leader Mia Davis and Mining and Pastoral Region candidate Kieran Dart Credit: Danielle Raffaele

While many claim this State election campaign is unprecedented due to the impact of COVID-19, surging popularity of the Premier and premature concession of defeat by the Liberals, in regional WA at least, this election campaign is like many we’ve seen before.

Like a broken record, the main focus of this State election has once again been on Perth, while regional issues like worker shortages, lack of investment in health, aged care, and education, and the crippling cost of living and doing business in the bush have been ignored.

For months we’ve seen the city-based major parties collectively promise no less than $8 billion for new Perth projects, including the ever-expanding budget black-hole of Metronet, redeveloping the Perth CBD with giant swimming pools and video-game arenas, and millions of dollars to build yet another pedestrian bridge over the Swan River.

But for regional WA, there’s been lip-service and a few crumbs off the table.

Their disdain was on full display during the recently televised Leader’s debate, where regional WA was mentioned once, and it’s further evidenced by their rorting of Royalties for Regions.

Both major parties have stubbornly refused to restore Royalties for Regions in fulland continue to short-change the people of regional WA.

Their misappropriation of regional development funding will cost country communities $2.7 billion over the next four years.

The Nationals WA are the only Party committed to restoring Royalties for Regions in full.

Our commitment to delivering RfR on behalf of the families, businesses and communities we represent has never wavered once in Opposition or in Government.

The major parties would have you believe RfR isn’t affordable.

That it’s a drain on the budget and WA’s economic health, and that it needs to be reformed.

That’s a bold-faced lie.

Like a broken record, the main focus of this State election has once again been on Perth.

Mia Davies

RfR is not only affordable — it’s worth just 3 per cent of the entire State Budget — but when used appropriately and responsibly, it’s a vital economic driver for our State.

And the privileged economic position our State now finds itself in — off the back of skyrocketing iron ore royalties and a campaign to return WA’s GST share started by Tony Crook and The Nationals in 2010 — is a far cry from the challenging circumstances we faced in Government.

In the aftermath of COVID-19 and uncertain months of rolling lockdowns and travel restrictions, it is RfR that has the potential to revitalise regional economies and give communities and investors confidence.

This critical fund should be used to grow local communities, deliver job-creating projects and fund essential services like healthcare, aged care and education.

This in turn fuels the kind of development we’ve seen in the Pilbara, revitalising Karratha and Port Hedland after decades of neglect.

Having now debunked the major-parties’ paper-thin propaganda that RfR is unaffordable, it’s up to The Nationals WA to make the case for how we will best use this important fund to improve outcomes for you and your community.

We’ve developed a positive plan to ensure regional WA is not just an afterthought for the major parties but a critical part of the agenda for any future government we’re part of.

Each of our policies have been developed in consultation with key stakeholders including WA Farmers, CBH, the WA Police Union, local governments, educators, healthcare workers and emergency services volunteers to meet the needs of communities we represent.

And the vast majority of our commitments will be funded by restoring the $2.7 billion Labor and the Liberals cut from RfR.

Our plan includes a significant commitment to agriculture, unmatched by any other party.

We’ve developed a positive plan to ensure regional WA is not just an afterthought for the major parties but a critical part of the agenda for any future government we’re part of.

Mia Davies

A visionary $200 million investment into WA’s agricultural freight network will remove bottlenecks and get grain to port faster, returning an additional $40 million per year to grain growers and regional communities, while making regional roads safer by reducing thousands of heavy vehicle movements.

We’re also bringing back the Farm and Pastoral Water Rebate Scheme, developing the next generation of experts by investing in agricultural education, providing $35 million to grower groups and tackling rural crime after Labor allowed criminal activists to run wild in recent years.

We’ve also committed $100 million to boost mobile phone coverage, $100 million to build more affordable and social housing in the regions, and we’ll deliver a major overhaul of road safety funding to address the disproportionately high number of regional road deaths and trauma.

The Nationals WA believe that regional families, businesses and communities deserve investment and opportunities like we see promised for Perth every day of the election campaign.

That’s why our team of regional champions will be fighting until the very last vote is cast and a result is declared. We will never take a backwards step defending and supporting the communities we represent.

If you’re still deciding how to cast your vote, we hope you will use it to send the major parties a message that regional WA deserves better.

Mia Davies is the leader of the Nationals WA

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