The Pencil Guy: Hourann's illogical blog

And now for the State Budget

Thursday 10 May 2007 at 2:43 pm

So, Eric Ripper has just finished his State Budget speech. For 2007-08, the total allocation is $16.1 billion for services across WA, but we’ve not been given much in major new funding commitments (after all, the State election is some time away).

The big-ticket item that everyone’s been talking about is tax cuts, and this budget delivers exactly what was predicted: reductions in stamp duty for first homebuyers and for car purchases, and reductions in land tax. This will cost about half a billion dollars per annum.

Health-wise, the investment is all in construction and infrastructure, such as upgrades to various regional hospitals, rather than in any management changes. Half of this year’s surplus is being spent to construct the Fiona Stanley Hospital in Murdoch, that being the fashionable way to fund projects these days as opposed to the traditional issuing of bonds. (Each time the Treasurer mentioned this, the Opposition kicked up quite a ruckus.)

Other than that, most of the announcements aren’t new: the environmental measures announced earlier this week, for instance, will cost a ridiculously generous $20 million per year. Meanwhile, next year will also see $44.5 million spent on improving TAFE colleges — a good sum, to be sure, but just like Tuesday’s budget, this seems like small change in the face of our skills shortage.

$48 million will go to upgrading vehicle licensing services, in the wake of criticism from Today Tonight (et al.). The new Department for Child Protection will be funded with $104 million over four years, and $55.3 million will be spent next year to recruit 260 additional police officers. But all of these figures are dwarfed by recurrent spending, which is about $4 billion for health and $3.3 billion for education.

So in short, this Budget is mostly a business-as-usual affair, with tweaks and increases around the place, plus a bunch of moderate-sized tax cuts, but nothing revolutionary.

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