Households will be spared from massive price hikes on utilities in this week’s West Australian budget following a decade of severe hip pocket pinching, but there will be no joy for public sector employees hoping for a wage boost.
Treasurer Ben Wyatt says he is very pleased with his third state budget, which will be handed down on Thursday.
“It’s delivering on all the things we took to the election a couple of years ago, both around financial management, but also around funding and delivering those key infrastructure projects like Metronet,” he told 6PR radio on Monday.
Mr Wyatt has promised to keep households fees and charges as low as possible.
“That’s something that we’re very aware of because it has been a decade now of not insignificant increases,” he said.
“We’ve been determined to ensure that there was a dividend for households because … the tighter expenditure control has meant that we’ve been able to create that opportunity to provide that dividend.”
Despite pressure from some unions, Mr Wyatt said the government would stick with its public sector wages policy for the full four years, as planned.
A $1000 a year cap on wage increases in the public sector was announced in 2017 as part of the state government’s budget repair measures.
The treasurer insists a return to surplus for 2019/20 does not mean the government has “free money”.
“We need to keep in a surplus position for two reasons – one, we use that to fund our components of infrastructure … and secondly, in light of the volatility of the global economy we need to run a surplus to protect more broadly WA from any adverse downturns,” he said.