Pilbara air card on Liberal agenda

Tom ZaunmayrPilbara News
Pilbara Liberal candidate Mark Alchin.
Camera IconPilbara Liberal candidate Mark Alchin. Credit: Tom Zaunmayr

The Liberals’ Pilbara candidate is pitching for a revamp of Royalties for Regions spending to prioritise what he describes as “soft” infrastructure over big-ticket projects.

Mark Alchin said with many large infrastructure projects already built or committed to, it was time to focus on growing the residential population and small businesses.

“My concern is that in the Pilbara, Port Hedland in particular, the population is almost back where it was 10 years ago,” he said.

“Ratepayers have amazing facilities but have difficulties servicing it.

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“What we will be doing is rather than building large infrastructure which soaks up billions of dollars, we will be reviewing the criteria to put a strong focus back on people.”

Mr Alchin said spending $42 million on a Pilbara “air card” was a priority for him.

“It would provide support for three return flights per year to anyone, and is transferable to family members,” he said. “We have costed it at about $42 million, based on a three return flight subsidy for a population of about 50,000.”

Mr Alchin said the card would be made available for everyone registered in the Pilbara to ensure only real local residents could use it.

In Karratha for a Labor campaign event last week, Alannah MacTiernan reaffirmed the Opposition’s support for the Royalties for Regions program.

Ms MacTiernan said WA Labor would ensure it was spent in the best way to maximise the benefits for residents.

The WA Nationals have been campaigning on the basis they are the only party which can protect Royalties for Regions.

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