10/10/2008 - 11:26

Labor urges clarity on regional spending

10/10/2008 - 11:26

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State Shadow Minister for Regional Development Alannah MacTiernan has demanded that the Liberal-National government reveal the "true nature" of the royalties to region scheme.

State Shadow Minister for Regional Development Alannah MacTiernan has demanded that the Liberal-National government reveal the "true nature" of the royalties to region scheme.

Ms MacTeirnan has made the demand in light of contradictory comments made by Premier Colin Barnett and Treasurer Troy Buswell and the lack of detail in the agreement.

Following the state election, the Liberals agreed to the Nationals royalties policy, which required 25 per cent, or some $675 million, of royalty income to be spent in regional areas.

The Liberal-National government has yet to outline the details of the agreement.

"The reality is the agreement provides for all of the Liberal party's uncosted election promises to have first claim on the scheme," Ms MacTiernan said.

"This includes all costs involved with the provision of extra police, nurses and teachers in regional areas."

"It is not clear how much, if any additional money will be available to fund new National Party proposals and projects."

Ms MacTiernan said that on top of this Mr Buswell, in a comment to The West Australian newspaper, has said that some of the $675 million would be directed towards "projects which are embedded in the (budget) forward estimates".

She said this directly contradicts the terms of the agreement which state that the projects and expenditure will be "over and above those currently funded in the regions by State Government".

"This creates even greater uncertainty about the true benefits to be delivered to regional Western Australians," Ms MacTiernan said.

"In contrast, the Labor offer of $1 billion over four years, was clearly new money which would have delivered new projects and services to the regions.

"Given that the very formation of the minority Liberal Government was based on this agreement the public deserves urgent clarification on the true nature of the Royalties to Regions agreement."

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