Regions important to government

ONE of the most rewarding aspects of my role as Premier is the opportunity it gives me to meet and talk to people in different parts of Western Australia.

One of my great frustrations however, is that every time I visit many of these areas, I’m shown first-hand examples of the problems being caused by the uncertainty of the native title system in our State.

Local residents in Kununurra highlighted the problems they are facing when I visited the area last week.

There is a critical shortage of residential and light industrial land in the town, causing rents to rise and stifling growth.

The government has plans in place to release more land, but they are being thwarted by the current native title arrangements.

The State Coalition Government has been campaigning vigorously to get a workable State native title system in place. The Opposition has continually moved to block the improvements and we are forced to continue to use the costly and unworkable processes of the Commonwealth Native Title Act.

The uncertainty isn’t affecting just one or two areas, it is affecting growth for all Western Australians, creating a log jam and holding back development.

We need a solution, not obstruction.

WHILE I was in the north-west, I also had a preview of the $15 million redevelopment being carried out at the Broome Hospital.

The upgraded facilities will be officially opened in June, giving people in the Kimberley region access to some of the most modern services available.

Only a couple of weeks earlier, I officially opened the new South-West Health Campus in Bunbury. This is a joint venture between the State Government and St John of God Health Care and has a public and private hospital side-by-side on one site with independent ownership and management.

The developments are part of the Government’s major commitment to health and we want to make sure that people all over the State can have access to the best possible services closer to their homes.

I’VE been impressed over recent weeks with the success of a number of initiatives being introduced around the State as part of the Safer WA Program.

Safer WA is about the Police Service, other State Government agencies, local government and the community working together against crime.

Committees established as part of Safer WA have introduced a diverse range of projects – each planned with the needs of their local area in mind.

The Regional Cabinet Meeting will be held in Esperance on May 10 and we are looking forward to meeting business and community representatives in the area.

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