Packed room with over 600 people at the East-Perth Hyatt’s Grand Ballroom this morning. Everyone was there to listen to the Hon Troy Buswell (State Treasurer) and the Hon Ben Wyatt (Shadow State Treasurer) debate & answer questions on matters concerning health, tourism, infrastructure, education and the WA economy at large.
Ben Wyatt opened the floor by talking about the outstanding growth WA has experienced over the last 10 years, whilst also paying close attention to the debt growth that has also seemingly exploded through the tenure of the Liberal government. The Treasurer hit back by saying that ‘every $ that has been borrowed has been spent on infrastructure projects’ and not on ‘servicing debt’. The Treasurer also pointed out that if WA were to ever become its own stand-alone economy, it would be the 39th largest stand-alone economy in the world.
After talks around the costings for Metronet, Tourism development and Toll Roads, Global Enterprises Group was able to ask the question of these two vital political representatives around recent federal labour statements on the 457 visa program. We asked – ‘the federal labour government has said that it is trying to make the 457 visa program harder – how will this affect WA’s labour shortage?’. The Treasurer was the first to answer to which he responded that it was nothing but a gimmick to win votes from a union-base of voters and had ‘no economical benefit’. In fact, he corrected himself to say that it would have ‘negative economical impact’ on the WA labour shortage. What we also appreciated was the answer from the Shadow Treasurer in that he drew the line in the sand saying ‘if it is detrimental to Western Australia, we will oppose it’ – regardless of whether the legislation is Labour or Liberal.
Unfortunately as the immigration portfolio is a federal one, the major decisions here on the 457 program will be made through who is elected in the September federal election.