Push for State Budget to get back to basics

Headshot of Elise Van Aken
Elise Van AkenGeraldton Guardian
Shane Love MLA and City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn
Camera IconShane Love MLA and City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn Credit: Geraldton Guardian

A boost to health services, road upgrades and revitalised public housing are at the top of two local politicians’ wishlists for this week’s State Budget.

Moore MLA and Deputy Opposition Leader Shane Love and City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn both hope “basic projects” in their communities will be addressed in the 2021-22 Budget, to be announced on Thursday.

Recent pre-budget announcements for Geraldton and the Mid West have included $790,000 for stage two of widening Brand Highway between Lockyer Road and Barrett Drive in Wandina, and the construction of a left-turn pocket into Barrett Drive, part of the State-Commonwealth joint $104.5 million cyclone Seroja disaster recovery package, and various smaller grants for local schools and sporting clubs.

Mr Love said bolstered health services were at the top of his wishlist for the Mid West, with an overhaul of the Mullewa Hospital an urgent priority as it had been six years since funding was promised.

“They’ve put a sign up (at Mullewa Health Centre) but we’d like to see some action. It’s been waiting far too long and it’s in an urgent and desperate need,” he said.

It’s been in the budget for six years since it was announced in the late stages of the previous government, but the entirety of the time it has been deteriorating and no facilities have been delivered besides money being there in the budget.

“I’ve written to the Premier and expressed my concerns, but only time will tell. It’s a real concern that it will be pushed back further.

“It was going to cost $6 million when it was first announced in 2016, but to do works now with cost escalations, you’re not going to get much for that.”

Mr Love said a focus on delivering mental health services, vaccines and health messaging to regional communities in the region, such as Chapman Valley, which had the lowest vaccine rate in the State, should also be a priority.

“Those people have to travel to Geraldton to get most of their services, and they are falling through the cracks,” he said.

His other Budget hopes included action on the Northampton Bypass road, upgrades to Mullewa Morawa Road and a share of recently announced social housing upgrades.

“It will be interesting to see the timing of the roll-out for some of the projects for cyclone Seroja recovery, but I do acknowledge the State and Government joint package was quite intensive,” Mr Love said.

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Mr Van Styn expressed similar hopes for Geraldton, saying funding for coastal protection works was also a priority.

“I hope the Geraldton Hospital upgrades are in the Budget, including an uplift in the amount provided given cost increases since it was announced five years ago,” he said.

“Geraldton Mount Magnet road and Brand Highway upgrades, with continued improvement on North West Coastal Highway, is needed.

“With the way the economy is and the difficulty sourcing materials and contractors to do work, we’re OK with the level of spending we’ve received in the past because we may not be able to spend given the pressure that’s been applied.”

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