Emily Hamilton MLA speaks on WA Budget


WA Legislative Assembly 

May 19 2022


I rise to make a contribution to debate on the Appropriation (Recurrent 2022–23) Bill 2022 and the Appropriation (Capital 2022–23) Bill 2022 following the McGowan government’s sixth budget—a budget that delivers for Joondalup and Western Australia. I am proud to be part of the McGowan Labor government and I am proud of the budget that our Premier and Treasurer has handed down.


As the member for Joondalup, I am privileged to speak on the budget over the past six years. It is an honour and a privilege to represent locals living in Heathridge, Ocean Reef, Edgewater, Connolly, Joondalup, Iluka and Currambine. We have seen a significant level of investment over the years that is continuing to grow Joondalup, a beautiful part of the world, with a pristine coastline and a wonderful sense of community. It is inherently a Labor budget that provides much-needed relief for families and invests in our healthcare system, all the while payingdown the debt that the Liberals and Nationals WA left us.


It is a budget that is investing in our state for our kids and grandkids. It is investing in WA in the areas that matter—health and mental health, education and training, the prevention of family and domestic violence, climate change, infrastructure, and boosting support for our most vulnerable. We are easing cost-of-living pressures by delivering a one-off $400 credit for all WA households on their residential electricity bill. This is on top of having already delivered a $600 credit in 2020. It will provide the average household with a month of bill relief, and I know how much of a difference this will make to so many households in Joondalup. After the last credit was delivered, I heard many stories detailing how much of a positive impact it had on the household budget.


This year is the third year that fees and charges are being kept below the consumer price index, and the 2022–23 budget is the second time that government fees and charges have fallen. We have well and truly turned the finances of the state around. The state’s books are in great condition because we have reversed the waste and neglect of the Liberals and Nationals.


We are paying down Barnett’s debt while delivering record investments across the board. A $33.9 billion investment in WA’s infrastructure, schools and health system will deliver for our community. This never happened under those opposite. When in office, the Liberals and Nationals consistently raised fees and charges. Not a day went by when they did not find a way to squeeze another dollar out of the WA public.


This is yet another budget that has been handed down in the midst of the global pandemic, at a time when families and small businesses have been doing it tough. However, we have seen strong, decisive leadership from our Premier that has kept us safe and our economy strong. Western Australia is a global leader in the way in which we have handled COVID-19, and we are the powerhouse of the nation. We have one of the strongest economies in the world, with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, and a high workforce participation rate. COVID-19 has been challenging for years now; it is being felt everywhere, and I know that Joondalup locals are not immune. But I also know that we are resilient. We have continued in the face of adversity and we are coming through what is often termed “COVID normal” with a new-found positivity and sense of community.


Our government is also addressing very real concerns about the personal cost of vigilance against COVID-19 in our community. That is why we have delivered free rapid antigen tests to every WA household. WA is the only state in the nation with a comprehensive free RAT program. My office has distributed 2 000 RAT tests to the Joondalup community. The initial 1 000 went to community organisations that support the most vulnerable in our community, and a further 1 000 have been made available for residents to collect from my office.


This year’s budget truly delivers on the McGowan Labor government’s commitment to create diverse local jobs across the state. A diverse and multifaceted economy is key to our future strength and prosperity, and the $1.3 billion investment into diversifying WA’s economy is a massive step towards delivering a stronger future for our state.


There are a number of areas I want to focus on today and issues that are very important to my constituents, and I will start with health. This budget is delivering the biggest ever investment in the WA public health system by any government in Western Australia’s history, with a further record $2.5 billion investment in health and mental health. That brings new investment to $5.7 billion since the last budget was handed down in September last year.


This Labor government understands how important it is to invest in high-quality, accessible health care close to home, and we are delivering.

Locally, our Joondalup Health Campus is the major hospital servicing the northern corridor, and it is undergoing a major expansion—and rightfully so, given that our region is one of the fastest-growing regions in Australia and the campus’s emergency department is one of the busiest in the country. The major upgrade and expansion of the Joondalup Health Campus is critical for our northern suburbs communities. Health matters to my community, and locals have an expectation that they can receive quality health care close to home.


That is what we are delivering under the strong leadership of our new Minister for Health, Amber-Jade Sanderson. The new Minister for Health was in Joondalup with me just last week to open the new Joondalup breast screening clinic—a state-of-the-art facility that will make a massive difference to the lives of women in Joondalup.

Investment in our health infrastructure locally continues to take place, and ensuring that we were able to deliver on our stroke unit back in 2019 ahead of the major works is something that I am proud of. In addition to the stroke unit, I, along with my parliamentary colleagues Sabine Winton and Margaret Quirk, have championed a new palliative care unit for the northern suburbs. Not only has that been delivered; it is now fully operational, having opened at the end of last year. We visited the site shortly after its opening and it is an asset to our health system. Speaking to staff members Tish Morrison and Dr Ellie Knight as we were taken around the facility, we could see that many patients have access to their own courtyards or views into the beautiful landscaped gardens. The new 10-bed palliative care unit ensures that loved ones can receive the care they need at the end of life at a location that is easily accessible by families and friends. The McGowan government is committed to investing in our health care infrastructure and services in WA.


I recently wrote a seventieth birthday card to a local constituent, Latha. Latha is the primary carer for her husband, who has Parkinson’s disease. She wrote to me outlining how grateful she was for the support and medical treatment provided to her husband across WA’s specialist and general health care system, including at Joondalup Health Campus. In this year’s budget, there is investment in the Joondalup Health Campus as it moves into phase 2 of its $256.7 million upgrade. There is a massive injection of resources and additional facilities, including a new mental health building; 12 emergency department beds; 90 inpatient beds; six coronary care beds; a new theatre; a cardiac catheterisation laboratory; a behavioural assessment urgent care clinic; auxiliary facilities; and increased more free-flowing parking. The additional emergency department beds are already operational and are taking patients. I note that these beds operate as part of the influenza-like illness unit, and allow for safely treating COVID-19-positive patients and others with infectious diseases. Additional resources to allow for the safe treatment of those with COVID-19 or other infectious diseases will be so important moving forward.

This also includes the construction of a new behavioural assessment urgent care clinic that will ensure that patients who are behaviourally affected by alcohol or drugs can be assessed safely without entering the main ED, which will improve patient flow through the provision of specialist inpatient beds. I was recently at the site with the Minister for Health, and it was great to see the significant progress being made on the construction of the expanded car parking facilities that will free up space for additional construction.

The 2022–23 budget will deliver $252 million to improve access to emergency care in WA, and I know from firsthand experience that this has been well received by our community. There are pressures on our EDs across the country and here in WA. Our government is delivering the real investment, resources and staff needed to improve EDs across the state. This reform package is made up of 17 initiatives to deliver better care. Centrally, the reform package will deliver a 24/7 registered nurse at 15 ED waiting rooms across the state. The reform package also includes funding to support those with complex needs who often require external support and accommodation to exit the hospital system. This will free up considerable resources within the system. The package also includes funding for the emergency access response program that will identify solutions for long-term improvements at EDs to reduce ramping. The government is delivering better access to emergency health care in a measured and considered way by delivering immediate programs to reduce the strain on EDs, while planning for future, long-term reform.


It is a shame that the federal Liberal government’s continued neglect of the NDIS and the aged-care system means that many patients with complex needs will end up in EDs instead of receiving care within an established support network. The federal government must do better and invest in the NDIS and the aged-care system. I hope that on Saturday we have a change of government and, with that, a change of focus and investment for better outcomes for those accessing the NDIS and properly addressing the aged-care crisis.


This year’s budget sees significant funding for mental health. Mental health challenges facing our communities— Joondalup is not immune—are something we have unfortunately been aware of and that I hear about when I am out and about. Now more than ever, we need to ensure that our health system can continue to support children and young people who need access to mental health support. In Joondalup, we already have the mental health observation area at the Joondalup Health Campus—a 10-bed specialist unit next door to the main emergency department. This provides care to people presenting with psychiatric disorders in a more clinically appropriate environment. That facility is improving hospital-level clinical care for those impacted with mental health issues, and it is important that we continue to look at early intervention and other mental health management options without the need for hospital presentation.


This government is delivering a record $1.3 billion investment into our mental health system. I have spoken about this in the house before, and I have heard about young primary school–age children presenting to hospitals with severe mental health issues. We need for these families to be able to receive the necessary support close to home in Joondalup, and this funding will address that. The funding includes an additional $181 million to fund new, expanded mental health services, and $47.3 million to support the rapid implementation of the Ministerial Taskforce into Public Mental Health Services for Infants, Children and Adolescents Aged 0–18 Years in Western Australia. The McGowan government will implement all 32 recommendations of the ministerial task force’s final report, which means that the WA Child and Adolescent Health Service will be radically reshaped to ensure better outcomes for children and families. Services around the world are dealing with an increased volume of children struggling with mental illness. Children are presenting younger and often with more complexity. In WA, approximately 14 per cent of kids up to 17 years of age experience a mental health concern. This new suite of reforms will keep more children out of hospitals andprovide better support for families. The reforms will also include a wideranging expansion of processes and available support to increase early intervention and appropriate clinical and non-clinical support.


Each and every time I speak about the health system I give a massive shout-out and thankyou to the wonderful staff in our health system. I extend my thanks to those at the Joondalup Health Campus in particular. The hospital is one of the largest employers in my electorate, with 70 per cent of the staff who work there living locally.


They are a key part of our community and the one that I represent, and without them turning up every day in the face of adversity during the pandemic, we would not be where we are now, so thank you.


I applaud this year’s budget’s investment in the TAFE and training system. This budget will provide the single largest capital works investment of $216 million for state-of-the-art facilities at WA TAFEs, which is proof of the government’s commitment to deliver high-quality training close to home. There will be an investment in the North Metropolitan TAFE in Joondalup, including $20.4 million for a specialist light automotive training workshop at the McLarty Avenue campus. That investment into this infrastructure will cater for emerging automotive information and communication technologies.


Maintaining cutting-edge training opportunities is essential for a strong future for WA, and the government’s investment into TAFE is a clear demonstration of the power of Labor governments. Labor governments invest in TAFE and training—the skills of the future—unlike our colleagues opposite. After years of Liberal–National government neglect, the Labor government is making TAFE more accessible than ever.


Our Lower Fees, Local Skills program is keeping TAFE fees affordable for families. Free courses and an expanded program of short courses means that it has never been easier to pick up a new skill or to change industry. This helps to ensure that our community has the flexibility to learn something new in our rapidly changing world. The government’s investment in TAFE is paying off. Enrolments have grown to a record 150 000 places for apprentices and trainees, which is up 31 per cent since last year. This record investment in TAFE and training is driven by serious investment in and attention to TAFE. It is delivering the skills that WA needs to secure a stronger future. A quarter of my electorate is under the age of 25 so ensuring training opportunities locally is fundamental.


The skills and training opportunities in Joondalup are not limited just to TAFE. There are many great education and training providers in Joondalup, and it is home to the top-tier Joondalup learning precinct, which includes Edith Cowan University, North Metropolitan TAFE, the Western Australian Police Academy and the Quadrangle, which is home to Edith Cowan College and Electrical Group Training.

The government understands the opportunities offered by rapidly growing and evolving digital industries, including those in cybersecurity. Joondalup is already making its mark as a centre for cybersecurity research, and engagement and employment opportunities. Cybersecurity is a rapidly growing industry and it will shape our local economy. The Australian cybersecurity industry is expected to be worth $6 billion within the next 10 years, and 1.8 million jobs in the cyber industry are expected to be created in Australia over the next five years. This budget invests an additional $400 million into the WA government’s digital capability fund, bringing the total investment to over $900 million. This funding will be used to transform the IT infrastructure of the government and bolster the cybersecurity capabilities of the state. This is a significant investment that will transform the ways in which people interact with government agencies through improved digital services. It will also support local cyber and IT providers across the state.


A promising partnership between Edith Cowan University and the WA government that is delivering real results is the WA AustCyber Innovation Hub, which received $1 million from the McGowan government’s new industries fund. The innovation hub is a collaboration between ECU, AustCyber and the City of Joondalup and is delivering solutions to businesses across WA to optimise their operations in a digital world. Joondalup is world-renowned for its cyber capabilities, and I am proud that the Labor government is investing in this growing workforce. The Lower Fees, Local Skills program has delivered significant reductions in the cost to obtain qualifications in industry. Take, for example, the advanced diploma of cybersecurity that can be studied at North Metro TAFE, which is recognised as a premier cybersecurity training provider. This advanced diploma is one of the many courses being offered at a low price for Western Australians. By charging lower fees for these courses, the government is supporting people to attain TAFE qualifications and is delivering a significant increase in enrolment and course completions across the industry. In these rapidly evolving times, it is more important than ever that there is a visible training pathway from schools into TAFE and university, or even both. As part of the conversation about the diversification of the WA economy, the current challenge is how to market Joondalup cybersecurity and digital capabilities and industries both domestically and internationally. The $17.1 million injection to expand WA’s international trade offices will supercharge export and investment market opportunities both in my electorate and across the state. I am excited about the reconnection to the broader world following our exit from the pandemic and the resumption of widespread travel and trade, and rebuilding those relations globally.


That brings me to my next point. The McGowan government understands and embraces the vast opportunities provided by innovative industries and is further fostering the growth of WA industry and manufacturing for the domestic export market. It is great to see the Labor government commit to one of the biggest automation and robotics test facilities in the world, right on Joondalup’s doorstep in Neerabup, in my colleague the member for Wanneroo’s electorate. The 51-hectare precinct will be home to a wide range of industries including mining and resources, defence, oil and gas, agriculture, space, logistics, construction, advanced manufacturing and the education sector. We have committed $20 million to the precinct, which will deliver over 5 000 ongoing jobs in innovative fields. This cutting-edge precinct will support innovation and high-quality future-ready jobs close to home.


The diversification of the economy will bring about a major transformation in the jobs and skills landscape across the state, so we must ensure that we continue to prepare our kids for the jobs of future. The Labor government is doing just that. It is investing significantly in WA’s schools so that our kids are ready for the jobs of the future. It is delivering a total of $5.9 billion for school education across the state, a 4.7 per cent increase on last year’s funding, and it demonstrates this government’s commitment to continually improve education resources and facilities for our kids.


I spend a lot of time interacting with primary and high school communities in my electorate. Through the previous budget and the COVID-19 recovery fund, there has been some great investment in educational facilities in Joondalup. Many of the upgrades that were supported over the pandemic are now coming online. They include extended car parking, access upgrades and a new nature play space at Joondalup Primary School and Joondalup Education Support Centre. Heathridge Primary School also received $1.5 million for upgrades in early learning areas.


The 2022–23 state budget will invest $595 million in new and upgraded school facilities. These facility upgrades will mean that our kids will be able to access high-quality resources and facilities at great local schools. Schools in my electorate that will receive funding are Beaumaris Primary School, Heathridge Primary School and Ocean Reef Senior High School. I am particularly proud of the investment being delivered to Ocean Reef Senior High School, the only public high school in my area, to continue the construction of a new $5 million state-of-the-art sports hall. I look forward to visiting the school next week and meeting with the new principal, James Kent, to look at the progress.


This will be on top of the $5 million performing arts centre that opened in 2020, which was fulfilling an election commitment I made in 2017. The new performing arts centre is a high-quality facility and is well utilised by the school community. It is fitted out with the latest technologies and allows students to acquire the skills that they will need to work in the performing arts and music industry.


Construction is also underway on a new state-of-the-art STEM classroom, which will allow students to engage with the latest STEM concepts and teaching resources. In a rapidly evolving global economy, it has never been so important to equip our kids with the skills of the future, and this government’s investment in STEM, particularly in the science program in schools, is delivering dedicated science labs to every primary school in my electorate.


Joondalup is home to many organisations that support children with special needs. The excellent team at the Joondalup Education Support Centre won WA Primary School of the Year in the 2021 WA Education Awards because of their dedication to supporting students with diverse needs from across our community. The centre’s reputation has resulted in interest for enrolment coming from far and wide, across more than 30 Perth suburbs.


Joondalup is home to the great local not-for-profit organisation, All Stars for Autism. Based out of the Joondalup Family Centre, All Stars for Autism is providing Joondalup families with social opportunities and supporting a positive autistic identity. Just last weekend I stopped by to visit Jo McMillan, the co-founder, and her team of volunteers at their sausage sizzle fundraiser at the Joondalup Bunnings. Given we are currently celebrating National Volunteer Week, I wanted to take the opportunity to thank everyone that donates their time with All Stars for Autism.


It will be great to see more neurodiverse kids receive the support they need at school. In Joondalup, we have several schools providing specialist autism support programs, including Heathridge Primary School and Ocean Reef Senior High School. The fact that these programs cover primary and secondary education in my electorate is quite important and means that the students can continue their education from kindy to Western Australian Certificate of Education, all within the public school system and locally. We know how important it is to support those with diverse needs.


I would like to take this opportunity to thank the teachers, early childhood educators, education assistants, university educators, training providers, administration and support staff in our educational facilities in Joondalup for their dedication to teaching our children and students throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. They have often been required to flex and move with changing circumstances and have done so with agility, whilst continuing to educate our children, and young people across Joondalup with the least amount of disruption possible. Thank you.


It would be remiss of me, speaking about our education system, not to mention that yesterday was Thank a Traffic Warden Day. To all of our traffic wardens who ensure our kids travel to and from schools safely each day, thank you. There are many traffic wardens at Joondalup, Connolly, Edgewater, Eddystone, Poseidon, Ocean Reef, St Simon Peter and Heathridge Primary Schools, and at Ocean Reef Senior High School.

Tomorrow is P&C Day WA. Happy P&C Day for 2022. P&Cs are fantastic organisations supporting our local schools and the broader community. Thank you to everyone who is involved in our P&Cs, dedicating time to support our school communities. These last two years have shown the strength of our community. I am very proud of the role P&Cs have had in building resilient and supportive communities in Joondalup. In the lead-up to P&C Day, I wish to take the opportunity to thank your P&C and its dedicated volunteers.

Thank you to the following P&C presidents and their teams: Mickey Stewart at Beaumaris Primary School; thanks to the outgoing president, Holly McBride, and welcome Kiah Snell at Connolly Primary School; Judy Edmeades, who is both P&C president and council chair at Eddystone Primary School; Jason Beltran at Edgewater Primary School; Amy Gilly at Heathridge Primary School; Amy Stewart at our Joondalup schools; Kat Backhouse at Ocean Reef Primary School; Emma Garside at Poseidon Primary School; and Chris McCafferty at Ocean Reef Senior High School. In celebration of P&C Day, I trust they will enjoy the coffee voucher that I have posted to them that can be shared at one of their upcoming meetings, whilst also supporting a number of our local small businesses. My apologies to the P&Cs that I was unable to visit over this past parliamentary sitting. I look forward to connecting with them again very soon at the Joondalup primary schools and Edgewater P&Cs.

This budget addresses the cost-of-living pressures that are being felt by our community. A number of measures are being implemented in this budget. One I want to mention is the capped public transport fares over two zones, with commuters paying no more than $4.90 one way. Our Joondalup community is also benefiting from public transport links to the north with the Yanchep rail line extension as part of Metronet, connecting people from the north corridor to our Joondalup CBD. The $448 million expansion of the Mitchell Freeway is set to transform our community’s connectedness. The widening of the freeway southbound between Hodges Drive and Hepburn Avenue and the expansion of smart freeway technology will bust congestion on our freeway. More importantly, it will reduce the time needed to commute, which means more time at home with family. Metronet is going to be important for how our community travels for years to come. I am proud that this government is investing in critical public transport infrastructure.


I want to take a moment to also mention the importance of this government understanding the challenges posed by continued climate change. The government is delivering on tackling the impacts of climate change here in WA. We are committed to securing a prosperous, low-carbon future for the next generations of Western Australians. This includes a significant investment of an additional $500 million into the climate action fund, taking the total to $1.25 billion.


Joondalup is the city centre that services the rapidly growing northern corridor. It needs to continue to grow its local economy so that it can continue to attract local business. A thriving city centre requires investment from all levels of government. But since taking office six years ago, I must say that federal interest, presence and investment in Joondalup is nowhere to be seen. It is a shame that the federal government does not recognise the importance of our strategic city centre and Joondalup’s role as Perth’s second CBD.


There has been a complete lack of investment in and focus on Joondalup from the Morrison Liberal government and a wholesale failure of advocacy from the sitting Liberal member, Ian Goodenough. Instead, Mr Goodenough sings the praises of projects such as the $448 million transformation of the Mitchell Freeway and Metronet, which I mentioned before. He fails to mention that the federal Liberal government had to be dragged kicking and screaming to support these key infrastructure projects.


I would like to note how important these major infrastructure projects are for Joondalup and thank Rita Saffioti and Premier Mark McGowan for getting these projects moving despite the heel dragging of Mr Morrison. Mr Goodenough’s track record of delivery for the Joondalup community is not there. It is plain to see. Only the other day there was a flyer in my letterbox that was meant to be proudly highlighting what is being delivered in Moore, but there were no local projects—nothing.


Ian Goodenough and the Liberals do not care about Joondalup. They do not care to invest in our growing Joondalup city centre and they have failed to deliver the critical projects our community needs. There is nothing but a complete lack of vision and drive after an underwhelming three terms in office.


That is why on Saturday I will be proud to support my local Labor candidate for Moore, Tom French. Tom is a hardworking candidate who has been out there, on the doors and the phones talking to locals about what is important. He has run small businesses, worked in a country pub and is a former sparky turned law graduate and, most recently, a new dad to a son, Gabriel. He has a range of experiences and will be a strong voice in Canberra. I look forward to a change of government on Saturday.


I will conclude how I began. This is a Labor budget. It is a budget that invests for our kids and grandkids. It is investing in WA in areas that matter to all Western Australians. I congratulate the Treasurer on this budget and commend the two appropriation bills to the house.