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Tourism and environment points of focus for Peel region in 2024-25 State Budget

Craig DuncanHarvey-Waroona Reporter
Darling Range MLA Hugh Jones, Dawesville MLA Lisa Munday, Premier Roger Cook, Mandurah MLA David Templeman, Murray-Wellington MLA Robyn Clarke and Peel Development Commission Chair David Doepel.
Camera IconDarling Range MLA Hugh Jones, Dawesville MLA Lisa Munday, Premier Roger Cook, Mandurah MLA David Templeman, Murray-Wellington MLA Robyn Clarke and Peel Development Commission Chair David Doepel. Credit: Craig Duncan

Premier Roger Cook spruiked the benefits of the 2024-25 State Budget for the Peel region to community leaders in Mandurah on Friday.

Mr Cook addressed a packed crowd at the Peel Thunder Football Club at a luncheon hosted by the Peel Development Commission.

The Premier said the Budget delivered record cost of living relief for WA families and support for small business to the tune of $762 million.

“We know that the economy’s doing well at the moment, but there’s many people who are doing it tough,” he said.

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“One of the key things we have to do is to make sure we reach out to those who are struggling at the moment.”

Key focuses of the Budget for Mr Cook were to boost housing availability, decarbonising the economy, and investing in healthcare, including $10 million of investment into the Peel Health Campus.

The Premier also emphasised the role tourism plays in the economy, highlighting a $165 million outdoor adventure package so people can continue to enjoy WA’s natural environment.

“In the Peel region this included $8 million for Peel Regional Trails, increasing and upgrading, walking, riding, paddling and driving trails across the region,” Mr Cook said.

The Budget will deliver upgrades to trails near the Lake Clifton thrombolites alongside $500,000 each for upgrades at the Nanga Campground and Lane Pool Reserve along the Murray River.

Martins Tank Campground is also set to receive $900,000 for additional camping and to provide more links to hiking trails within the Yalgorup system.

“We’re hoping to expand the campground to meet existing demand,” Mr Cook said.

The Premier was joined later joined by Mandurah MLA David Templeman for a Q&A session.

In response to a question about what the Government is doing to protect the region’s internationally recognised biodiversity hotspot, Mr Cook said the environment is the key to the future of the community and economy of the area.

He said the government is attempting to balance looking after the environment while at the same time achieving economic growth.

“This comes into even sharper focus when you have regions that for instance, Alcoa is operating in,” Mr Cook said.

“They obviously have opportunities and a State Agreement to continue to run their business, which employs thousands of people.

“But they are also operating in an incredibly important and fragile ecosystem.”

Mr Cook said one of his key focuses is to bring Alcoa into the 21st century in terms of environmental oversight.

“In this Budget we have allocated over $10 million to DWER to provide more on site regulation and supervision of their mine site activities,” he said.

Murray chief executive Dean Unsworth asked the final question, noting recent analysis from the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council which showed the Peel-Harvey estuary system in a state of decline and at risk of collapse with a reduction. He said it was estimated the system provided $3.35 billion in economic value per year for the region.

The Premier shared Mr Unsworth’s concern and passion, stating he understands the ecosystem is showing signs of stress.

Mr Templeman took over the response, saying he too understands many of the benefits and opportunities for the region are linked to the health and wellbeing of the catchment and its waterways.

“It is probably the biggest challenge I think we need to address going forward,” he said.

“There is a plan and there are some very important planning processes under way, but there is a lot more to be done.”

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