WA Premier and Treasurer Mark McGowan has announced numerous pro-cash dividends and bonuses as part of his second state budget, including the opportunity for a year’s power to be paid off in full.
The state’s annual budget for 2022/23 will be handed down on Thursday, a helping hand for all West Australians who have been patient in waiting for their COVID “soft landing”, according to the Premier.
Reports WA was “overflowing with cash” following billion-dollar surpluses seem to be on the money, as Mr McGowan today announced a $400 credit towards household electricity bills as part of the budget.
It is expected that the payment will cover more than one million people’s power bills, according to The West Australian.
However, this is not the focus in the west now; the budget hardly rated a mention on morning talk shows and news bulletins.
The focus, as it has been since March 2020, is COVID.
This was supposed to be WA’s watershed; a celebration for the hard border stance and snap lockdowns that received substantial criticism from politicians and commentators.
Instead, the second wave of COVID currently has WA’s health systems on overload.
The significant financial boost will be a proverbial shot in the arm for most residents, but the downside is that the daily COVID case numbers are through the roof (currently 17,000 new cases today).
Positive tests are not the problem, and it seems businesses have been able to adjust to people working from home; it’s the rapid spread throughout the community that has seen the numbers soar to alarming levels.
Mr McGowan announced last month that his government were looking to extend the state’s emergency powers for instances like this, comments that were met with backlash from health officials and the Opposition.
Local reports say there’s a lack of hospital beds, and a delay in ambulance response times due to the sheer volume of cases.
The budget will also bring in $252 million in emergency care reform, and a fulfilled election promise of delivering $30.1 million for more regional emergency services staff and vehicles.