Jobs go in WA budget
By Stephen Robson
PERTH — Another 1300 jobs will be cut from the state public service following the second Court government budget, brought down on June 9. Premier Richard Court indicated that most of these would be lost in Westrail.
The government attempted to avoid being identified with the introduction of new taxes. It trimmed expenditure by 1.5% in real terms and announced fare increases for buses, trains and ferries a few days before the budget. Tax revenue is also expected to rise by 2.4% during the 1994-95 financial year.
The government has focused on the state public sector debt of $8.2 billion as justification to reduce expenditure. A deficit of $33 million is expected in 1994-5, down from the $105 million in 1993-4.
Health at 23.5% (0.9% increase in real terms) and education at 20.4% (a decline of 0.25%) are the big items in the budget.
With forecasts indicating a 15% growth in enrolments by the year 2000, there is strong argument to dramatically increase the number of teachers, yet the government has expanded staff by only 316.
With the Court government on its law and order campaign, police again received an important increase with expenditure up by 7%. The director of public prosecutions expenditure is a projected 15% increase.
The increase of $25 million in expenditure includes $4.5 million to put another 100 police on operational duty through placement of 100 clerical staff.
Out of the $25 million allocated to juvenile justice, $1.8 million was allocated to establish the first boot camp for young offenders by the end of 1994. About $850,000 will also be used to extend mediating teams to country areas of WA. The teams mediate between offenders, their families and victims to help decide the punishment.