Extraordinary budget needed, weak budget delivered: Nalder

08/10/2020 - 16:55

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The state government’s response to COVID-19 is smaller than investment after the Global Financial Crisis, shadow treasurer Dean Nalder claims.

Shadow treasurer Dean Nalder has slammed the state budget. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

The state government’s response to COVID-19 is smaller than investment after the Global Financial Crisis, shadow treasurer Dean Nalder claimed on Thursday afternoon.

Mr Nalder leveled a stinging criticism of the WA budget today.

“Western Australia deserved an extraordinary budget for these extraordinary times,” he said.

“What has been handed down is a weak and insipid budget that does not provide anything resembling a clear, strong plan for local jobs, for local small businesses and for Western Australia’s economic recovery.

“There is no jobs target other than to return to pre-COVID levels and unemployment is forecast to reach a very concerning 8 per cent.

“This is not an infrastructure blitz – the $27 billion is similar to normal government investment.

“As a comparison, following the GFC the Liberal government invested $8.3 billion in response – the highest on record.

“This year Labor is spending just $7.5 billion – that is 10 per cent less despite a much bigger economy and a much bigger economic crisis.”

Mr Nalder’s criticism comes after Treasurer Ben Wyatt posted a $1.2 billion operating surplus.

But that number does not take into account infrastructure investment.

In cash terms, the budget is in a $3.4 billion deficit, meaning the government will be heading to bond markets for cash.

The government benefited from the strong iron ore price in recent months.

Royalties from the steel-making commodity were forecast to be 2.3 billion more this financial year than previously projected in the December 2019 mid-year review.

Last financial year, the government posted an operating surplus of $1.9 billion.

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