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Premier Mark McGowan Hits Back at WA Liberals’ Criticism of the Budget Surplus

Premier Mark McGowan hits back at WA Liberals' criticism of the budget surplus

Pic Credit: soperth.com.au

West Australian Premier Mark McGowan says that, despite confronting political resistance to the state’s projected surplus of $1.2 billion this financial year, “the world has gone simply insane.”

Mr McGowan and Treasurer Ben Wyatt at a typical post-budget breakfast in Perth started spruiking their “stable and solid” state budget, which was handed down yesterday. For the next four years, the revealed budget surpluses are expected to continue, dipping to $363 million in 2021/22 and rebounding to almost $1.5 billion by 2023/24.

“Mr McGowan told the breakfast crowd,” If we have a second round of coronavirus if another epidemic happens, you don’t want to get all your power blowing up. I believe it’s liable for being the only surplus government in Australia … and it’s the best place to be in.

Yesterday, Shadow Treasurer Dean Nalder voiced dissatisfaction about the outlook, saying that the COVID-19 pandemic was not properly helping households and firms facing “tough times”.

We didn’t ruin the economy, we didn’t chuck it all out the door, said Mr McGowan. Literally, the universe has gone crazy when these kinds of stuff are heard.

Bumper iron ore royalty helped WA produce the surplus, with royalty alone this financial year estimated to raise $7.4 billion.

But Mr Wyatt said that it wasn’t just royalties that landed WA in a good economic position.

This is not a story about iron ore, it’s a story about financial management, Mr Wyatt said.

Yes, iron ore is solid, yes, iron ore does the fantastic things it does for the state, but I’m never going to, ever base a budget on the high price of iron ore.

In the meantime, Mr McGowan confirmed that it is expected that the COVID-19-infected bulk carrier currently anchored off the WA coast will sail on Saturday, with most of its crew recovering from the virus.

Last month, a coronavirus outbreak on Patricia Oldendorff was announced and contaminated crew were taken onshore in Port Hedland to recover in hotel quarantine. Mr McGowan said that 18 members of the crew have already recovered.

Three of the crew members who we plan to continue here would be moved to Perth via charter, placed into quarantine, and then the company will be liable for repatriating certain persons after the phase. As you know, occasionally plans change during this phase, but we’re expecting her to sail tomorrow after deep cleaning and repatriating people to the dock.

Two new COVID-19 cases were reported overnight by WA, both returning overseas travellers who remain under hotel quarantine.