25/06/2014 - 13:10

Royalties for regions project outcomes in doubt

25/06/2014 - 13:10

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Auditor general Colin Murphy tabled a report in parliament today that showed that while the royalties for regions program had provided substantial infrastructure and services to regional Western Australia, it is still unclear whether they are delivering their intended outcomes.

Auditor general Colin Murphy.

Auditor general Colin Murphy tabled a report in parliament today that showed that while the royalties for regions program had provided substantial infrastructure and services to regional Western Australia, it is still unclear whether they are delivering their intended outcomes.

“The success of the Royalties for Regions program will ultimately be determined based on whether it leaves a lasting impact on the community or not,” Mr Murphy said.

“While this program has delivered a variety of key projects across the regions, sustainability is an issue when so many projects are later run by local government or the private sector.”

He acknowledged that Royalties for Regions was a large program with a lot of controls around spending.

“At the time of our audit, $4.2 billion had been allocated to over 3,500 royalties for regions projects,” Mr Murphy said.

“We do have some concern that funding decisions should be based on good information around what the projects intend to deliver and if this aligns with the long-term program objectives.”

Mr Murphy concluded that he was pleased overall to see ongoing improvements in the way the program is being managed.

In response, WA labor leader Mark McGowan said the report showed that the liberal-national government has been extremely cavalier with the State’s once-in-a-lifetime royalty windfalls.

"It’s clear that at times, taxpayers’ money has been spent on projects that did not provide long term benefits to regional communities," he said.

“Regional people would expect it to be spent on creating sustainable communities that provide regional Western Australians with the service and infrastructure they need". 

“This is a damning snapshot of the Liberal-National Government’s management of the program and its overall management of the State’s finances. No wonder they lost the State’s AAA credit rating.”

Meanwhile, Mr Murphy also tabled a report that showed that government advertising is on track, by looking at some advertising campaigns from the around $45 million spent by government on purchasing television, radio, print and online media places in the last two years.

A report, which showed that agencies generally performed well in protecting the rights of private psychiatric hostel residents and ensuring the hostels provided acceptable support and accommodation standards, was also tabled.

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