Colin Barnett has signalled a change in priorities for WA's $1 billion Royalties for Regions scheme.
Two days after the Liberal Party's decisive election win, the Premier said the cash cow, which was negotiated by WA Nationals leader Brendon Grylls in the face of the 2008 hung Parliament, would be targeted differently.
"I think you'll see a greater emphasis on regional-based projects rather than purely town-based or council ones and I think Brendon agrees with that," Mr Barnett told ABC radio.
The two leaders were due to meet this week to discuss the possible make-up of the new Liberal-Nationals Government, but Mr Grylls was making no comment yesterday.
His spokesman said Mr Grylls, now the MP for Pilbara, was waiting for the final results in key Nationals electorates such as Kalgoorlie and Warren-Blackwood.
Over the past four-year term, the Nationals have faced some criticism for using Royalties for Regions as a pork-barrelling fund.
Though he defended the way the money had been spent since 2008, Mr Barnett felt there were more pressing issues now than upgrading town infrastructure.
"That has been important and lifted the morale and standing of country towns, but I think everyone would agree there's more basic issues and that will be - not a 100 per cent change - but more of an emphasis on that and less of an emphasis on the projects in the first term."
Mr Barnett talked about serious concerns he has for farmers doing it tough in the Eastern Wheatbelt.
"I have some very harrowing correspondence from some farmers' wives about it," he said. "I remember one letter in particular saying we've worked hard for years and we're going to be forced off our farm with nothing to show for it."
The Premier praised Mr Grylls for his role in Cabinet and said the two parties would continue their alliance even though the Liberals had enough seats to rule WA in their own right."He and I have a terrific working relationship," he said. "We've never had a serious argument, Brendon and I. We always find a solution."
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