City ‘prepared’ for State funds shortfall

Pierra WillixBusselton Dunsborough Times

The City of Busselton says it has prepared for shortfalls in funding for major projects after the WA Premier told regional councils covering recurrent costs would be their responsibility.

Last week Premier Mark McGowan told regional councils the State Government would not pay high upkeep costs for extravagant projects built under the Royalties for Regions fund.

The Premier said the Government had received complaints from councils about the recurrent costs of operating facilities and said any calls for costs to be shifted to taxpayers would be resisted and it was up to councils to meet funding requirements.

However, Busselton City Council Mayor Grant Henley told the Times that in the absence of State funding the City had planned ahead to ensure shortfalls in funding would not affect major projects and their upkeep.

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Last week, Cr Henley said the Busselton local government area sitting within the blue-ribbon Vasse electorate under a Labor Government meant the City was looked on less favourably.

Cr Henley this week told the Times the City’s general policy for major projects, such as the airport, involved undertaking asset maintenance plans and incorporating projects into the City’s Long Term Financial Plans so they were sustainable.

“The jetty has a 50-year maintenance plan and funds were in a reserve and the airport is based on modelling on return funding back into reserve for future maintenance,” he said.

Cr Henley said he was aware other regional councils in the north of the State and in smaller communities were now considering increasing rates to maintain facilities.

He said this was “certainly not the case in the City of Busselton”.

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