At the Peel Budget Lunch event on 13 May, the State's strong economic position and record investment in regional infrastructure were highlighted. In addition, we were reminded how government investment makes a material difference to the quality of our lives every day.
It was a privilege to have Premier and Treasurer Mark McGowan return to Peel for a second time to discuss the 2022-23 State Budget and its implications for the region as we look for the new normal and what that means for our businesses, households, and communities.
During his presentation at the Halls Head Bowling Club, the Premier highlighted the state's strong budget position and responsible fiscal management during the pandemic.
Some of the standout numbers were on the infrastructure side, reflecting the great work by the WA Government and our Local Governments to secure Federal co-investment for projects that will set the State up for a strong future. But what does all of that really mean for you, me and the Peel region?
When discussing the $5.6 billion of funding for regional roads, the Premier pointed out that road safety investment saves lives...but people don't even know that their lives are being saved. Isn't that part of the government's role-to do things that the rest of us are unaware of but make a material difference to the quality of our lives?
Investment in infrastructure doesn't sound very glamourous but if we don't have it, we will certainly notice. Roadworks, of which there will be plenty in our region, can be annoying and temporarily inconvenient. But how good is it when the orange cones are taken away and our travel is faster and safer and improves the efficiency of goods movement, business deliveries and reduces commuting times?
These kinds of larger and longer-term investments are projects for the generations. Sure, they deliver results in the short term but their cumulative benefit over the years make a material benefit to our economic prosperity. One of the tasks we take very seriously at the Peel Development Commission is strategic planning. We feed, from our region, information about critical issues into the relevant state government departments to ensure that our local knowledge and insights inform State-level policy.
During a freewheeling interactive Q&A with the audience, the Premier answered questions from the audience on any topic of their choosing, including job creation and attracting investment in the Peel, cost pressures in the building sector, and environmental protection initiatives.
The Premier was also asked about what he had learned about leadership during the COVID pandemic. His answer was candid and quite personal and can be summed up as "being flexible and being prepared to change your position quickly...and doing extraordinary things is sometimes required." I think for many of us this response rings true. We collectively encountered something none of us in our lifetime have experienced. Adaptability, flexibility and nimbleness became the order of the day. I would add that our level of trust in our government's decision-making based on robust science allowed us to emerge stronger and ready for the challenges ahead.
Rounding out the event MC Lisa Munday MLA and presenter Robyn Clarke MLA added additional local perspectives. Hugh Jones MLA and Hon David Templeman MLA were unable to attend due to other commitments on the day.
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