WA State Budget 2021: Hospital, port upgrades & short-stay highlights for Geraldton

Headshot of Elise Van Aken
Elise Van AkenGeraldton Guardian
Premier, Mark McGowan, delivers the State Budget speech at the Parliament House legislative assembly.
The West Australian
08/09/21
Camera IconPremier, Mark McGowan, delivers the State Budget speech at the Parliament House legislative assembly. The West Australian 08/09/21 Credit: Ian Munro/The West Australian

Few surprises were left for Geraldton in this year’s State Budget, with the Government reiterating its funding commitments to health, infrastructure and the planned multi-million dollar Aboriginal short-stay facility.

Premier Mark McGowan handed down his first Budget as Treasurer yesterday, which the Opposition criticised as focusing on addressing short-term crisis in the health system and housing, while sitting on a $5.6 billion dollar iron-ore royalty funded surplus.

RELATED NEWS

Budget highlights for Geraldton and the Mid West were $18 million for construction and implementation of a new Geraldton Aboriginal Short Stay Accommodation facility, $9.9 million for the construction of a port-wide firefighting system with $8 million to acquire land and upgrade roads at the Port of Geraldton, and $2 million for stage two of the Geraldton Hospital upgrades which planned for the co-location of St John of God private hospital.

But the Geraldton Finfish Nursery was confirmed to be officially delayed by a year, with completion now expected in mid-2023.

The Premier cited strain on industry due to increased demand as requiring them to push back a number of projects across the State to ensure a sustainable pipeline of works that “promoted greater certainty, industry confidence, training and job security”.

Over $70 million was also committed from the Regional Road Safety Program to invest in repairing, rebuilding and road safety treatments on more than 550km of roads in the Mid West and Gascoyne, and $55 million earmarked to upgrade Indian Ocean Drive between Jurien Bay and Brand Highway.

Earlier in the week the Government announced the Budget would include $7.5 million to deliver road access into the Oakajee Strategic Industrial Area to activate the area as a renewable hydrogen precinct and $9 million for works on social and public housing in Spalding.

WA Premier Mark McGowan and Geraldton MP Lara Dalton.
Camera IconWA Premier Mark McGowan and Geraldton MP Lara Dalton. Credit: Supplied

Premier McGowan said the Government was delivering on its plan to keep Geraldton strong, with the State Budget investing billions to create quality local jobs, fund a pipeline of infrastructure works and deliver key services such as health and education.

“Our WA Jobs Plan preferences Western Australians for local jobs first, as we work to diversify the regional economy in Geraldton, attract investment and build a skilled workforce for the future,” he said.

“The 2021-22 State Budget is working to deliver a strong and vibrant region, with quality local services that give people every reason to live, work and raise a family in Geraldton.”

Member for Geraldton Lara Dalton said it was wonderful to see all election commitments for Geraldton were funded and delivered in the yesterday’s Budget.

Nationals Party member for the Agricultural Region Martin Aldridge said he felt there had been a missed opportunity to spend more on diversifying the region’s economy.

“Overall there’s been a missed opportunity where the State probably should have been spending more on diversifying the economy, the Labor Government is still significantly responding to crises in housing and health systems,” he said.

“They’re riding on the back of iron ore in the Pilbara, but that price isn’t going to last forever, the Government’s gaze is on the short-term crisis and not long-term investment.

We had heard rumours there would be delayed delays to the finfish JU nursery . . . it’s projects like aquaculture, agriculture and tourism infrastructure damaged by cyclone Seroja we think would have been greater and innovative investments to make sure we diversified our economy.

- Nationals Party member for the Agricultural Region Martin Aldridge

“We had heard rumours there would be delays to the finfish nursery ... it’s projects like aquaculture, agriculture and tourism infrastructure damaged by cyclone Seroja we think would have been greater and innovative investments to make sure we diversified our economy.

“I’m not pretending there’s not a problem to fix with health and housing.

“But I’ve had the health portfolio for about five years and the State Government has failed to deliver things like an urgent-care clinic in Geraldton it promised since first coming into Government.

“Geraldton Regional Hospital is our second busiest and it continually fails to be able to meet demand.”

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails