WA Nationals leader Brendon Grylls has rejected a report labelling his Royalties for Regions scheme a failure.
A report was released today by independent think tank, The Grattan Institute, which outlined the West Australian program as a billion dollar waste.
However Grylls hit back at the report and supported his scheme, which was brought in by the State’s Liberals to aid in forming a minority government, AAP has reported.
"I simply make the argument the notion we wouldn’t try and drive economic growth in the Pilbara, given what that means for Australia’s and WA’s economy would be a disappointing outcome," he told ABC Radio.
"(The report’s author John Daley) says give up on the Pilbara, put money into Mandurah, build bigger airports so the community can fly-in fly-out. I just simply don’t agree with that,” Grylls said.
The recently released West Australian budget included $1.2 billion for the Royalties for Regions program.
In his report, Daley says said that pouring extra cash into regional areas would not draw residents in, and only hampers the growth of other burgeoning areas such as Perth, Bunbury and Mandurah.
“Given the Pilbara is growing, there is no doubt that money has to be spent there. The question is whether so much money should go there when Mandurah and Bunbury are growing so much faster than the Pilbara,” Daley said.
Grylls supported the government’s investment in the growth areas, saying the budget provided funding to ease congestion in Perth, and development in Mandurah was still going ahead.
Western Australia is set to reap $4 billion annually from mining royalties.