WA State Budget snapshot

Moderating economic growth is set to shrink Western Australia's future Budget surpluses, with 2024-25 spending focused on alleviating cost-of-living pressures, boosting housing affordability and creating jobs.

Government, Government Relations, Parliament, Political Leaders, Politics

Dan Wilkie 9 May 2024
5 mins
Roger Cook and Rita Saffiotti prior to the Budget launch

The 2024‑25 Western Australian Budget was headlined by a forecast $2.6 billion operating surplus for the next financial year, as Treasurer Rita Saffioti revealed the State Government was on track for a $3.2 billion operating surplus in 2023‑24.

Western Australia’s domestic economy is expected to grow by 5.25% in 2023‑24 and moderate in 2024‑25 to 3.25%, which the Government says is more in line with its long-run average.

Despite the strength of the economy, Gross State Product (GSP) is forecast to grow at a modest 1.75% in 2023‑24, with the Government citing a drop in agriculture exports after a record harvest, before recovering to growth of 2% in 2024‑25.

Strong labour market conditions have seen employment reach a record 1.6 million people and the State’s unemployment rate fall to 3.4% at March 2024, while wage growth is expected to rise to 4.25% in 2023‑24, double its average rate of growth over the past decade.

Tax revenue in 2023‑24 was expected to be higher than budgeted. Payroll tax came in at $5.46 billion and stamp duty at $2.47 billion, which together with iron ore royalties of $9.85 billion made up the bulk of the Government’s income.

The Budget Papers noted that the higher tax takes reflect stronger than anticipated activity in the property and vehicle markets in Western Australia, as well as stronger employment growth.

Energy transition

A big-ticket item in the 2024-25 WA State Budget was a $502 million investment in WA’s energy transition, designed to boost reliability and affordability of the State’s power networks.

The funding includes $324 million in upgrades to the State’s main electricity network, which will allow Western Power to assess and develop potential Clean Energy Link transmission projects.

A further $147.6 million was allocated to upgrade the North West Interconnected System and open up new opportunities for clean energy developments.

Also in the regions, $18.4 million will go towards deploying 50 Standalone Power Systems in Esperance and the Mid West, $7.5 million to rebuilding the Blackstone remote community’s power station, and $4.5 million to buying power stations in Ardyaloon, Bidyadanga, Beagle Bay, Djarindjin and Warmun.

The additional investments bring the Labor Government’s spend on the clean energy transition to $5.4 billion since 2017.

Property and infrastructure

A $500 million Special Purpose Account has been created to de-constrain industrial areas, with $186 million allocated over the forward estimates – including $145 million to be spent by DevelopmentWA to acquire and develop land.

Funding has been committed to speeding up approvals, including $14.1 million to establish ‘cross-sector triage teams’ within regulatory agencies, which will provide immediate review and rapid upfront assessment of applications received.

The Government has confirmed a $13.8 billion for port, road, rail and transport infrastructure, with $373 million to port facilities including delivery of the Dampier Bulk Handling Facility, plus upgrades to maintain capacity and resilience of infrastructure.

There is also $116 million for Westport, which includes early marine, civil and road works to transition container trade from Fremantle to Kwinana, unlocking future trade opportunities and economic capacity.

The Cook Government has also made a $1.1 billion commitment to address housing affordability and homelessness. This includes $400 million to expand the Social and Affordable Housing Investment Fund, which will now deliver a total of 5,000 social homes. More than 2,100 new social homes have already been completed.

Additional funding was allocated to support affordable housing projects in partnership with the Federal Government, while a $179 million maintenance package was committed for WA’s 45,000 social homes and government worker housing.

The Budget included $144 million to deliver new housing projects, including DevelopmentWA’s first build-to-rent project on Pier Street in the CBD, while $92 million will be used to support more than 120 critical homelessness services across WA.

Stamp duty exemptions for first homebuyers were increased for established homes from $530,000 to $600,000, while the exemption threshold rose from $430,000 to $450,000.

The stamp duty reforms are expected to assist approximately 5,000 individuals purchasing their first home each year, with the associated cost to the government estimated to be around $20 million annually.

An additional $5 million will go towards incentive payments of $5,000 to encourage owners of vacant properties to list them as rentals.


The health budget spend has swelled to a record $3.2 billion – with $1.2 billion to be spent on public hospital services, an additional $839 million for further health infrastructure spending, and a further $405 million for regional healthcare services including workforce initiatives and the extension of priority programs.

Mental health, alcohol and other drug services receive a $260 million investment, while the Electronic Medical Record and Critical Health ICT Infrastructure programs get a $200 million injection.

Another $154.6 million has been committed to emergency department access and long-stay patient initiatives across health and mental health, and $92.5 million goes to Health Support Services (HSS) across the forward estimates – including $67.9 million to support the Peel Health Campus after it becomes a public hospital.

Indigenous Australians

Aboriginal empowerment and wellbeing were a clear priority of the Cook Government in the Budget, with nearly $300 million allocated across a range of economic, social and community initiatives.

The funding will help the State Government’s efforts to hit key Closing the Gap Targets, create new jobs and expand culturally appropriate community services.

Around $58 million was committed to facilitating Indigenous Land Use Agreements and joint management activities with Traditional Owners for the South Coast Marine Park and the Fortescue Marsh Nature Reserve.

An additional $15.6 million will be spent over the next four years to deliver 11 priority projects to improve early childhood outcomes in remote communities, while $25.2 million will be spent on energy efficiency upgrades of social homes.

A further $4.2 million was committed to continue the Department of Training and Workforce Development’s support for Aboriginal clients at Jobs and Skills Centres.

Training and education

The budget also included a hefty training package, with $195 million allocated towards ensuring attaining the skills needed to underpin future growth remains affordable.

That spend includes $8 million towards free TAFE courses, $85 million to grow WA’s construction industry workforce and boost apprentice numbers, and a $16 million boost to help apprentices purchase tools or safety equipment through $1,000 rebates.

The Skilled Migrant Job Connect Program will receive $5.6 million over the next three years to top up the State’s labour force in key industries.

Tourism and the arts

The Cook Government continued its investments in WA’s tourism and arts credentials, including a $165 million package to enhance outdoor and adventure tourism.

The package includes $82 million for boating and maritime facilities, $46 million for new hiking and cycling trails, $17 million to upgrade camping facilities and $16 million to revitalise the Kalbarri foreshore and support Abrolhos Islands tourism.

An additional $150 million – a record spend – will go to upgrading facilities at Rottnest Island, while $37 million has been allocated towards attracting international and interstate visitors through major events.

There’s also a $4.9 million commitment over four years to get the Tourism Workforce Development Plan off the ground, which the Government believes will build capabilities in the tourism workforce.

In the arts sector, $233 million has been allocated for the construction of the Malaga film studio, while $13 million will be spent on a screen industry workforce development plan.

The Community Sporting and Recreation Facilities fund is in line for a $7 million boost, bringing its total Budget commitment to $26 million, supporting 35 projects across WA.

Arts organisations including the Black Swan State Theatre Company, Marrugeku, West Australian Ballet, WA Opera and the WA Symphony Orchestra will share in a $5.9 million funding uplift over 2024-25 and 2025-26.

—  Additional contributions from Chris Leitch. Photo credit: Roger Cook/Facebook

Dan Wilkie More from author

Dan is an accomplished journalist, editor and content creator with more than 12 years of experience in financial media.

In addition to holding several senior roles in the Business News editorial team, Dan was responsible for launching Australia China Business Review and was most recently editor-in-chief at Australian Property Investor.

Dan has a strong eye for detail and an exceptional ability to succinctly and accurately craft high-quality content tailored for a client’s needs across a wide range of industries.

Outside of work, Dan is an island enthusiast with a penchant for the South Pacific, and in the cooler months can often be found roaming the forests of Jarrahdale with his young family.

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