‘Green with envy’: WA Premier Mark McGowan sticks the boot in over mouthwatering 2022 State Budget
The state’s Budget has been handed down, with increases to household bills, water, power and vehicle registration putting an extra $260 on top of existing average household charges, but Mark McGowan’s $400 electricity credit means household expenses have actually decreased.
The WA Premier and Treasurer says other state and territory treasurers “will look like they swallowed a bumblebee” after reading his state’s budget surplus for the 2021-22 financial year on Thursday.
LISTEN below to Mark McGowan’s Budget interview on Perth Live with Oliver Peterson
McGowan’s second budget as Treasurer had the surplus revised up from $2.4 billion to an eye-watering $5.7 billion, after soaring iron ore prices, property sales and payroll tax revenue.
He defended criticism earlier on 6PR Mornings from Anglicare the blanket electricity rebate was ‘lazy policy’ as it didn’t address more assistance to WA’s most vulnerable families.
“Your first $400 of power consumption will be free, and there’s a $2.5 billion increase in health… and a range of other initiatives,” he told Peterson on Thursday afternoon.
“For the most needy people, they’re already getting $318 on their healthcare cards on the ‘energy assistance payment’ … there will always be critics but my view is making sure everyone, especially hardworking families who never get anything, get something.”
The Premier earlier praised the government’s management of the COVID-19 pandemic, which was paying dividends for the state’s coffers.
He then stuck the boot into his eastern counterparts for their dismal debt trajectories.
“I suspect [other state treasurers] will be green with envy, some of them will look like they’ve swallowed a bumblebee,” McGowan said on Thursday.
“But the reality is that WA has supported all of them during a difficult period by staying open and delivering enormous revenue to the Commonwealth that has then flowed into other states.”
A key pillar of this year’s budget was cost of living relief, with a $400 electricity rebate for every WA household costing $445 million. The rebate shields households from increases in other government fees and charges, with the average household actually $356 better off because of it.
LISTEN below to 6PR reporter Jake Battrick give Steve Mills the full Budget rundown on Millsy at Midday
2022 WA BUDGET FEATURES
- WA’s operating surplus for 2021-22 almost doubled from $2.4b predicted in December’s mid-year review to $5.7 billion
- Government fees and charges increase from July 1, including: electricity (up 2.5%), water (up 2.5%), vehicle licence (up 3.8%), drivers licence (up 6.4%), motor injury insurance (up 2.4%) and public transport (up 2%)
- With the one-off $400 electricity bill credit included, typical public sector household goods and services decrease $243 (3.8 per cent) in 2022/23
- Public sector workers receive original 2.5% wage increase, plus option of $1000 payment or another 0.25 per cent
- $2.5 billion boost for health and mental health systems to pay for more staff, beds and equipment