Bunbury's Don Punch hits back at budget criticism

Bunbury MLA Don Punch hit back at criticism of the state's finances from the National Party while addressing parliament last week.

Bunbury MLA Don Punch hit back at criticism of the state's finances from the National Party while addressing parliament last week.

Bunbury MLA Don Punch used the second reading of the 2017 Supply Bill in parliament last week to hit back at the National Party who have criticised the government over an imminent increase in the cost of electricity. 

Last week a letter to the editor in the Mail from Nationals WA leader Mia Davies noted the state government will soon announce the price West Australians pay for their electricity will go up. 

“Don’t expect a courtesy call form the Treasurer asking whether or not households wish to pay it,” she wrote.

“There will be no bartering, no discussion and, of course, households will be expected to absorb the hit and carry on.” 

She also called on Premier Mark McGowan to ‘stand his ground’ on behalf of West Australians who don’t get the option of being asked nicely to pay a bit more to fix the state’s budget. 

Mr Punch addressed the parliament on Thursday during a debate about the state’s finances which centered around continuing to pay for government operations while the 2017-18 budget and appropriations are prepared. 

He took the opportunity to remind the house that his party are “dealing with a financial legacy left by the previous Liberal-National alliance government.”

“In practice that meant two teams with two treasuries – the Liberals managing the state budget and the National Party  managing an alternative treasury through Royalties for Regions of $1 billion a year” he said. 

“The problem was [created] with the Liberal government spending as though Royalties for Regions did not exist.

“This meant the two parties were spending without regard to each other, with the Nationals particularly having complete disregard for the overall financial future of the whole of WA.

“This is why were are sitting here today debating the Supply Bill, because we have to look at the next budget… as we unpick that mess.”

Mr Punch said the state government have made a commitment to the improving regional areas and will honour that while being financially responsible. 

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