Premier in Print

THE new $49 million Narrows Bridge development is one of the major projects nearing completion in Western Australia.

It has been fascinating to watch the progress of the bridge being built by Leighton Contractors using their innovative “incremental launch” technique. This involves pushing the massive structure across the river from the southern foreshore.

Due to open at the end of February, the last section of the six-lane bridge, including a dedicated bus lane, was moved into place last week.

A series of public walks is now being planned to give people the chance to have a good look at the bridge before it opens to traffic.

THE benefits from the record of sound financial management developed in Western Australia over recent years are continuing and our State is one of the pacesetters of the Australian economy.

The Coalition Government’s planning builds on the strengths we have developed, with key indicators from a range of sources highlighting very positive outlooks for the State.

Business investment has increased to $9.6 billion in the year to the June quarter 2000, compared with $6.7 billion in the year to the March quarter 1993.

The increase reflects industry’s faith in our State and a commitment to the long-term development of the economy.

Western Australia currently has $73 billion worth of projects listed for investment - as much as New South Wales and Queensland combined.

This confidence in our State means we can expect about 60,000 jobs will be created as a result of the investment growth.

RECENT years have also seen a major boost to government capital works expenditure right across the State in areas including public housing, metropolitan and regional health projects, schools and transport.

This record level of Government investment - from $1.65 billion in 1993-94 to $3.3 billion in 2000-01 - has helped the State’s economy maintain momentum during the difficult time of the Asian slowdown, and provided the economic and social benefits essential for building stronger communities.

At the same time, we have significantly reduced the State’s net debt – from around 20 per cent of Gross Domestic Product in 1992-93 to around 7 per cent at 30 June, 2000. This means Western Australians are now saving more than $300 million a year in interest payments across government.

IN another development, young Western Australian musicians and performing artists will win added benefits from activities at Perth’s new bell tower.

We have set up a new non-profit foundation to manage the operation of the Swan Bells and one of the foundation’s roles will be to ensure that surplus funds received from visitors to the bells will benefit youth involved in music and performing arts.

Young people from all over the State will have a chance to share in the money - we have specified that at least 30 per cent of the money must go to youth from regional Western Australia.

The opening of the Swan Bells is planned for December 10.

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