Budget – Old and tired not good enough

UnionsWA today commented on the release of the 2016 WA state budget including continuing and wide-ranging job and services cuts, increases in fees and charges and continuation of the government’s failed privatisation agenda.

Meredith Hammat, Secretary UnionsWA said:

“This old and tired Budget from an old and tired government is just not good enough to address the important issues for working people in WA.

“The same old, tired and failed privatisation agenda.

“In this Budget, Barnett has decided to make privatisation of electricity and other public assets and services as a key election issue for the 2017 State election.

“Unions have found great community support for our campaigns opposing privatisation because West Australians understand that in the hands of business fees will rise even more and service reliability and safety will worsen while government will lose long-term revenue.

“West Australians are tired of government fees and charges that just go up, up and up.

“This Budget continues to increase government fees and charges higher than the rate of inflation.

“While the Budget predicts inflation to rise by 1.75% in 2016-17, it increases water bills by 4.5%, home electricity bills by 3% and TAFE fees by an average of 4%.

“This Budget also adopts the same old approach to cutting services to the public and service jobs.

“A weakened WA economy in 2016-17 is forecast, with the key economic indicator of Gross State Product predicted to grow by only 1.25%, while our population increases by 1.3% and unemployed rises to 6.75%.

“But do we see any new plan to grow jobs? No.

“No wonder WA’s economic growth is so weak – they are continuing to cut public services and pushing down wages.

“In 2015-16 there were $137 million of services cuts and the Expenditure Review Committee will enforce a further $461 million in service cuts over the next four years.

“The Government’s workforce policies will result in a smaller public service workforce with less experience and lower qualifications, with its' wages policy alone resulting in cuts over the next four years of $826 million.

“Such public sector job cuts weaken our economy as the resources boom collapses.”

Key Budget Facts

Fees and Charges

The Budget includes from 1 July 2016:

  • 3% increase in residential electricity tariffs; 
  • 4.5% increase in the Water Corporation’s total water tariffs (water, wastewater and drainage);
  • 2.07% increase in public transport standard fares (rounded to the nearest ten cents), with the 60 cent student fare remaining unchanged; 
  • 2.45% increase in motor vehicle licence fees; 
  • 2.5% increase in compulsory third party (CTP) insurance premiums; 
  • 4.23% (or $) increase in the Emergency Services Levy;
  • 4% fee cap increase for TAFE fees.

Total expenditure by the ‘representative household’ on this basket of Government goods and services in 2016-17 is an increase of 7.7% or $415.

Privatisation of public asset and services are, in total over the four year ahead, estimated to amount to $16 billion.

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