The 2021-22 WA state budget was fully released on Thursday September 9, boasting a $5.6 billion surplus and $9.1 billion investment in regional infrastructure.
Highlights for the South West include
- Delivery of the $200.1 million Bunbury Hospital redevelopment;
- the South-West will share in $2 million to support the work of regional renal support teams;
- Bunbury's Acute Psychiatric Unit will share in $1.7 million for upgrades
- $9.5 million towards the Australian Underwater Discovery Centre at Busselton Jetty to build a world class tourism attraction
- An additional $2 million into the development of the South West Advanced Manufacturing and Technology Hub
Along with the above healthcare announcements, the government will provide a boost to its Patient Assisted Travel Scheme by increasing its accommodation subsidy to $100 per night.
The government will invest $1.9 billion into health and mental health to improve services throughout WA, including more doctors and nurses in the regions.
Another state wide announcement but includes the regions is $9.2 million for Strong Spirit Strong Mind program which aims to improve the social and emotional well-being of young Aboriginal people and the provision of alcohol and other drugs education.
Despite there being no immediate fix to the housing crisis throughout the state, the government has boosted the homelessness sector with $2.1 billion.
It is unknown about the locations that will benefit from the funding, including the $750 million into the Social Housing Investment Fund to increase the state's social housing stock.
Bunbury's suburb of Withers will receive $5 million towards renewing its ageing social housing precinct.
Bunbury MLA and minister for disability, fisheries, seniors and ageing Don Punch said there was not an instant fix homelessness would continue to be an issue for a little while.
"But we are on a trajectory where it will improve," he said.
Vasse MLA Libby Mettam has continuously pressed the government about the amount of empty social houses in her electorate.
Minister Punch said there was provision in the budget to refurbish some of its social housing stock.
"Some of the stock is badly damaged," he said.
The state's $463 million investment into regional school bus services was also part of the budget, however specific locations have not been identified.
In terms of education, a number of schools within the South West will receive funding including:
- $6.6 million to redevelop classrooms into STEM classrooms at Bunbury Senior High School ($1 million), Dalyellup College ($1 million), Busselton Senior High School ($1.2 million), Cape Naturaliste College
- $3 million to refurbish the South Bunbury Education Support Centre;
- $7 million for a new design and technology block at Eaton Community College
South West MLC Jackie Jarvis said she was excited about the amount of investment being made into education and training.
"The redevelopment of classrooms into STEM classrooms at Busselton Senior High School and Cape Naturaliste College will prepare students for the jobs of WA's future," she said.
"I'm excited about the $19.2 million VET career taster program for year 9 students as this will enable our local students to explore what further training opportunities are available to them."