Premier in Print

WESTERN Australian business will reap the benefits of the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre with four major conventions already booked for the proposed facility.

The WA-based Multiplex consortium has been selected as preferred provider to build the $310 million centre.

The Government will start negotiations with the consortium to finalise issues such as design and financial arrangements.

Short-sighted critics of the project seem to ignore the fact that the project is expected to generate between $1.5 billion and $2 billion for the Western Australian economy in its first 10 years.

Up to 5,000 jobs will be created during construction and more than 3,000 new permanent full-time and part-time jobs after completion.

The centre will open a world of new convention and exhibition opportunities, providing significant benefits for medium to small business, particularly in the provision of tourism, exhibition and catering services.

Australia has a new tax system and, while I have no doubt it will be good for the nation and for our State, there are still a number of issues that have to be worked through.

The initial period following the introduction of the goods and services tax has been fairly smooth – particularly in the retail sector – however, I believe it will probably take small business about two quarterly payment periods to become familiar with the new system.

The State Government has a number of issues it needs to work through with the Commonwealth – for example, the diesel subsidy on road use, which the State has been forced to reinstate, and the reduced funding WA is receiving for remote power generation.

One of the most pleasing results highlighted in the latest crime statistics is the big drop in the number of car thefts in Western Australia.

The rate was down 21 per cent in 1999 compared with the previous year and reflects the decision made by the Government to have immobilisers fitted to vehicles.

The improvement is particularly noteworthy considering that, apart from NSW, all States and Territories recorded an increase in motor vehicle theft.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics figures also show big drops in other areas of crime including the robbery rate for WA, which fell by 22.3 per cent – the first decline since 1993 and the biggest fall of any State or Territory.

As a Government, we have been especially focused on action that will reduce crime rates.

We are now seeing success from initiatives such as our Safer WA program and will continue to work with police and the community to continue the downwards trend.

State Government ministers will be in Kalgoorlie on July 17 for the next regional Cabinet meeting.

An extensive program is planned for the day so that we will have as many opportunities as possible to meet locals and discuss issues with them.

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