Royalties program vital but needs transparency

Good for business

CCI supports the Royalties for Regions (RfR) program and its intent to build vibrant regions with strong communities but believes the program should be transparent and underpinned by robust business cases and cost benefit analysis to ensure the projects undertaken provide value to the WA taxpayer.

The 2016-17 Budget says project funding will be subject to the RfR due diligence process and Cabinet will approve program funding before it is released.

On current budget estimates the RfR fund will be around 20.9 per cent of mining royalties in 2016-17 – down from the legislated 25 per cent – reflecting the fall in mining royalties the State will receive over this time. This will equate to appropriations totalling $803 million in 2016-17, $893 million in 2017-18, $983 million in 2018-19 and then returning to $1 billion in 2019-20.

New regional investments include:

  • $50 million Seizing the Opportunity Agriculture (bringing the total to $350 million)
  • $1.7 million for the Bremer bay town centre
  • $7.6 million for the Denmark East Development precinct to provide an alternative light industrial area
  • $29.5 million for the Carnarvon Community College
  • $30 million over four years to continue the Exploration Incentive Scheme to encourage investment and exploration in WA’s resource sector to assist long term sustainability
  • $15.7 million for the Katanning SuperTown heritage project including the creation of a tourist visitor centre, museum and botanic garden
  • $22.3 million for the Manjimup town centre revitalisation
  • $49.7 million for the Newman health centre

RfR will also continue initiatives including: the Southern Investment initiative, State-wide Regional Blueprints, Revitalising the Regions and Aboriginal development initiatives.

CCI calls on the Government to ensure that local governments and government departments also adhere to buy local policies to ensure that regional business are provided the opportunity for full, fair and reasonable access to provide goods and services.