The McGowan Government has announced increases in representative household fees and tariffs for the 2017-2018 financial year, a move set to hit low-middle income households hardest.
This Saturday, June 24th, marks 100 days of the McGowan Labor government in WA, having just scrapped 160 jobs from the Skilled Migration Occupation List, in a move which fulfilled a campaign promise to put WA jobs first.
The Labor government has now released the new figures for fees relating to government services, including water, electricity, public transport and motor vehicle services, the changes will come into effect from 1 July 2017, forming part of the 2017-18 Budget.
The changes include:
- A 6% increase in water, sewerage and drainage charges
- An increase of $169 to the fixed charge component of electricity bills
- A 1.8% increase in public transport standard fares (to the nearest 10 cents)
- transperth student fares increased from 60 cents to 70 cents
- A 5% reduction in the Smartrider discount schemes
- A 5.5% increase in Vehicle license charges; and
- A 3.35% increase in the emergency services levy
The new charges are an attempt to repair the State’s finances following the debt left to the adminstration by the previous Liberal National government.
In a statement released by Treasurer Ben Wyatt it was made clear that it is the government’s position that fixing the State deficit is a collective responsibility.
“Every Western Australian will need to share the burden of repairing the State Budget, with increases to household fees and charges,” he said.
The state’s debt is forecasted at $33 billion by the end of June 2017, and is estimated to reach $42 billion by June 2020.
A factsheet released by the WA Treasury outlines several pledges by which they intend to repair the budget, among them:
- Cutting government departments by 40%
- A 4-year pay freeze for MPs and the highest paid State bureaucrats
- A 20% cut to the Senior Executive Service; and
- A Commission of Inquiry to investigate previous financial mismanagement
The announcement comes at a time when McGowan is struggling to deliver on his pledge to employ fewer staffers than his predecessor, an increase in household bills could have an undesirable effect on his approval ratings.