Premier in Print

THE importance of the oil and gas industry in Western Australia is well recognised, but there are some staggering facts highlighted in a new report on the industry.

The sector has become our state’s most valuable resource industry, with output valued at nearly $5 billion in 1998. Some of the benefits it brings include:

• Total industry investment over the 18 years to 1997 has been $20.9 billion or an average of $3.2 million every day

• More than 900 companies in Western Australia provide goods and services to petroleum companies. It is estimated these companies employ more than 17,000 people

• At least another 2,500 people are directly employed by petroleum companies

• In 1997-98 Western Australia received royalties worth $247 million from the oil and gas industry.

The report, Energy for Growth: The impact of Gas and Oil Production on WA, was released at the start of the Australian Petroleum and Exploration Association’s conference and exhibition in Perth recently.

THE recent demolition of the three-storey blocks of flats in Balga was another big step forward in the Government’s New Living program to improve public housing and help create safer communities.

Local residents had led a strong campaign to get rid of the big blocks of flats and gathered in force to cheer when the first blow was struck to smash down the walls.

Graffiti, damage and other crime had become a constant problem with the area being used as a dumping ground for old furniture and regularly attracting the attention of the police.

Similar problems in other areas reduced noticeably when we have introduced the New Living program.

In Lockridge, for example, crime last year was down by 55 per cent on rates at the start of New Living in the area. Residents there also said they felt safer.

All of Homeswest’s three-storey flats in Balga — nearly 300 apartments — will be knocked down as part of New Living. Homeswest will sell the land for family homes.

THE South-West Health Campus in Bunbury is now officially open, providing another tangible example of the commitment the State Government is putting into health.

The $68 million campus combines a 115-bed public hospital and an 80-bed private hospital side-by-side with independent ownership and management.

St John of God Health Care and the State Government, through the Bunbury Health Service, have entered into a partnership in which they will share common services such as catering, engineering, sercurity and maintenance at the campus.

The new facility and diverse services provided on the campus means that people in the South-West now have access to high quality medical care, close to home.

Orthopaedic surgery will be one of the key medical areas developed, providing a huge boon for the people living in the South-West who are currently on metropolitan hospitals’ waiting lists.

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