Western Australia’s Royalties for Region program has been slammed as a waste of money.
Independent think tank, The Grattan Institute, have released a report studying national regional development policies, and outlined the WA program as a billion dollar waste of money, The West Australian has reported.
It labelled the money set aside for the State’s regional development as ‘misdirected’, as not enough went to Western Australia’s faster growing regions.
This comes after the State Government announced in its most recent budget that it will be raising the royalty rate on all iron ore fines, a move which was slammed by the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies.
The same budget included $1.2 billion for the Royalties for Regions program, $150 million of which is set aside for the Pilbara Cities project.
Report author, John Daley, 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,
Mandurah’s population has skyrocketed more than 130% over the last two decades.
Bunbury mayor David Smith agreed with Daley, telling The West Australian that it is being pushed aside for the state’s iron regions.
“We understand why there would be a focus on Karratha and Port Hedland, and to a lesser extent the Kimberley and Mid West, and we’ve been patiently waiting in the queue, but I honestly thought this State Budget might be one where we got a bit extra,” Smith said.
Western Australia is set to reap $4 billion annually from mining royalties.
Image: Kalgoorlie-Boulder’s Super pit