R4R maintenance legacy in P Hed

Port Hedland Budget Crisis as Royalties for Regions Chickens Come Home to Roost

20 June 2013

Greens WA member for the Mining and Pastoral Region, Robin Chapple MLC, today called on the state government to start fixing up the mess left behind by its royalties-for-regions (R4R) blunders.

“Reports have surfaced of the massive budget shortfall in the Town of Port Hedland’s books.  Being a former Port Hedland councillor, I know just what anguish the hard-working staff and councillors are going through at the moment.

“$3 million is a big deficit, and the most appalling aspect of it is, just how predictable it was - and I fear Port Hedland will not be the only council to suffer a similar fate.

“I have repeatedly warned about the inherent dangers in the way R4R was structured and administered.  Anybody can be wise after the event – but I moved amendments to the Bill in 2009 – which would have ensured that R4R spending was targeted – to enhance basic living needs including health, housing and education services.

“Instead, Premier Barnett’s government, led by the nose like some Royal Show exhibit by Mr Grylls’ Nationals, has splashed cash into a raft of vanity projects – many of which carried with them the inevitable maintenance burden which we now see is dragging down local governments like Port Hedland.

“Commonsense must now prevail - Mr Barnett and his Treasurer well know that the continuation of current R4R arrangements is a Sword of Damocles hanging over the state’s fiscal credibility for the next four years.

“Now is the time for the Premier to use his electoral advantage over the Nationals and patch up the gaping cracks in R4R administration, which are now coming so clearly into public view”, Mr Chapple concluded.

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