THERE are a few wins in the budget for Voiceland, but overall Perth MP John Carey says “there’s no sugar coating it…it is tough, but I think it’s fair, and the key issue is reducing the expense growth of government agencies and government itself”.
The budget’s been hammered by the opposition for its new taxes (a hike in payroll tax to affect 1,300 big employers and gold royalties will jump up when the gold price rises) but Mr Carey agrees with party brass that it was needed to get the state’s $32.5billion debt under control.
There’s some good news locally though:
Mr Carey says “the key focus in my electorate is there’s $68 million for the inner city high schools, we’ve committed to a timeframe, we’ve put money in the budget and appointed architects.”
There’s also $3.5m for Mount Hawthorn Primary School to go double storey to cope with student numbers.
“And then a smaller measure which I’m pleased about: I made a commitment to pedestrian safety, and it has been a hot issue, so I’m really pleased to see the first [pedestrian crossing]’s nearly done in Fitzgerald Street, and another two are being installed, one on Charles Street, one on Vincent Street.”
The Charles Street crossing will be near Kyilla Primary School, where parents having been keen to get one for years, and the Vincent Street crossing will be near Beatty Park.
“I want to give credit to the community for this; they lobbied me on it, they campaigned for it,” Mr Carey said.
The Perth Parking Levy (a sum that Perth and Vincent councils have to pay the state government for every parking bay in an area around the CBD) has also been frozen. Perth and Vincent councils were fearing an increase, and mayors Lisa Scaffidi and Emma Cole both put up motions to write to the state asking them not to put it up any higher. It’s stayed steady this year, and Mr Carey says the transport department’s now working on a 10-year plan for the Perth parking levy on how it can be invested back into the city.
“One of the things I’m advocating for is that the PPL pay for an expansion of CAT bus services into the night time.” The idea of a “black CAT” running evenings was one of the most popular ideas at the Perth City Summit community forum he held in August.
The big plus for Maylands is the $50m redevelopment of John Forrest Secondary College, due to kick off in 2019. The Drake Street school will get new facilities for design and technology, science, home economics, computer studies, visual arts, drama, music and media, along with a new admin building, cafeteria and gym (with the old gym being turned into a dance hall).
Maylands MP Lisa Baker says JFSC is one of the oldest schools in the state and is in need of an upgrade: ”I am pleased to have helped secure funding after a nine-year push…the new performing arts centre will be the highlight of the upgrade and will add to the school’s impressive music, cricket and tennis speciality programs”.
There’s also cash to complete the missing shared-path links along the Midland line, $1m to fix the cruddy Walter Road and Wellington Street intersection, and there’s been $50,000 in upgrades for the Maylands Tennis Club and $45,000 for Environment House, near the Bayswater wetlands, through the Local Projects, Local Jobs program.
The anti-social problems in the Maylands town centre should also get a bit of relief with $140,000 funding secured for public toilets and CCTV.
“The state budget is focussed on the things that really matter to people in Maylands…like creating more jobs and investing in essential services like health and education,” Ms Baker says.
Schools are also the big winner in this part of town, with Mt Lawley Senior High getting a $4m upgrade for specialist facilities and new classrooms, following increased enrolments.
Mt Lawley MP Simon Millman says: “I’m thrilled every local school from Mount Lawley to Yokine, Coolbinia to West Morley will be receiving funding for exciting new programs or much-needed upgrades to play and assembly areas.
“It’s also fantastic that RTR FM has received a $120,000 grant to ensure community radio is properly supported and Perth’s vibrant creative scene can continue to flourish.”
by DAVID BELL