Its asset investment program will be $5.9 billion in 2016-17 with transport projects accounting for nearly one third of the total.
Spending will increase to $6.1 billion in 2017-18 before declining gradually.
The total over the four-year forward estimates period is $23 billion.
Major projects include the $1.4 billion Perth Stadium – due for completion by 2018 – and the $2 billion Forrestfield-Airport rail link.
The government has also announced the reallocation of state funding for the construction of a $49 million Ellenbrook Bus Rapid Transit project, to be built in 2016-17 to 2017-18.
Premier Colin Barnett said the project offered a cost-effective way to provide Perth’s north-eastern suburbs with access to fast public transport.
Treasurer Mike Nahan hopes to raise $16 billion from an expanded asset sales program, Western Power and Horizon Power’s Pilbara transmission lines now targeted but two other assets unexpectedly removed from the government’s sell-off list.
The state government is planning to develop a business case to take the Western Power sale to the next election rather than lock it in, in today’s budget.
The government had flagged the sale earlier this year as a mechanism to dramatically reduce the state’s debt burden, which is now forecast to peak at more than $40 billion at the end of the decade, from an expected $27.9 billion at June 30 this year.
Two previously flagged sales have been canned- the Forest Products Commission and the state fleet.
Horizon Power will remain in state hands, but its Pilbara transmission assets will be sold for about $800 million.
Dr Nahan said cash proceeds from the sale of Western power had been conservatively estimated at about $12 billion.
Most of the sale proceeds from the $16 billion package will go directly to debt retirement, totalling about $11 billion, which would take out about 30 per cent of the state’s projected debt level.
A further $5 billion will be put into an infrastructure fund, to finance future projects.
Sales that are listed in the budget documents include Fremantle Ports and Utah Point, with Fremantle expected to fetch $2 billion.
Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA chief executive Deidre Willmott backed a sale of Western Power.
“Business has been calling for the State Government to implement a plan to regain the AAA credit rating and build the economy of the future, so today’s budget is welcome news to the community,” Ms Willmott said.
“Western Australia currently has the lowest credit rating in the country, so the sale of Western Power and poles and wires in the Pilbara will go a long way to reducing debt and restoring the markets’ faith in Western Australia as a stable place to do business.”
Source Information: https://www.businessnews.com.au/article/Asset-investment-slows-to-23bn