WA's budget slice not enough: CCIWA

13/05/2009 - 11:59

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While the federal government's decision to invest in significant WA infrastructure projects has been welcomed, a business lobby group says the state's importance to the nation's economy has been undersold.

WA's budget slice not enough: CCIWA

While the federal government's decision to invest in significant WA infrastructure projects has been welcomed, a business lobby group says the state's importance to the nation's economy has been undersold.

Last night, the federal government revealed as part of the budget that it will allocate $339 million towards the development of the $4 billion Oakajee deepwater and $236 million towards the sinking of the Northbridge rail line.

The funding of the projects is part of the Rudd government's $22 billion national infrastructure spending package, the centrepiece of the budget.

Other allocations include $255 million towards a new State Rehabilitation Centre at Fiona Stanley Hospital and $421 million towards upgrading some of WA's roads.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA today welcomed the government's infrastructure spend however said it was not enough compared to the contributions the state makes to the Australian economy.

CCI said that is preliminary analysis of the budget showed WA will receive less than 7 per cent of the $22 billion infrastructure package.

"Considering Western Australia accounts for over 40 per cent of Australia's total exports, is home to more than 10 per cent of Australia's residents, and accounts for around 14 per cent of Australia's economy," CCIWA said in a statement.

"This year's Federal Budget has not adequately taken into account the needs of a growing, and nationally significant, state.

"This under-investment will put more pressure on the State Government, and the private sector, to raise the funds needed to upgrade and build the roads, railways, ports, and other critical infrastructure needed to sustain strong economic growth."

Meantime Oakajee Port and Rail (OPR), the government selected proponent to develop the deepwater port, has welcomed the federal government's $339 million injection.

"Direct financial support for Oakajee from both the Federal and State Governments provides a massive boost for the project," OPR chief executive Christopher Eves said.

"It indicates the widespread support for this project in Australia and demonstrates the highest levels of commitment to see the port and rail infrastructure developed as quickly as possible."

The state government has committed $339 million towards the Oakajee port.

OPR is jointly owned by Murchison Metals and Japan's Mitsubishi Corporation.

A $100 million bankable feasibility study is scheduled for completion in March 2010 and construction is expected to start in 2011.

Operations at the port are scheduled to begin in 2013 with an initial capacity of 35 million tonnes per annum.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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