The Barnett Government will delay by a year the introduction of school fees for the children of overseas workers on 457 temporary work visas and offer a "family discount" for those with more than one child attending WA's public schools.
The changes, announced by Premier Colin Barnett in a press release yesterday, will leave at least a $60 million hole in the State's revenue assumptions over the next four years.
Treasurer Troy Buswell announced the Government would impose a $4000-per-child fee from January when he handed down the State Budget last month.
But yesterday Mr Barnett said the fee would not be introduced until 2015 and that the $4000 fee would be halved for second and subsequent children in the school system.
The press release made mention of "hardship provisions" for special cases but the Government could not provide details yesterday of how these would work.
Brooks Tomlin, an American meteorologist on a subclass 457 visa with two children at Como Primary School, described the changes as an "olive branch" but said the impact on his family finances was largely the same.
"This will significantly impact our thought process about whether we stay or head back," he said.
The original Budget measure - touted as part of the Treasurer's "fiscal action plan" to get government spending under control - was supposed to raise $120 million over four years.
This was based on an assumption that 8600 children of 457 visa scheme holders were in the system.
The Government now believes there are only 4000 children.
Mr Barnett denied there was a hole in the Budget because the Australian dollar and iron ore prices had been favourable in recent weeks. Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said this was "absurd".
"If you are missing $60 million of revenue, that's a black hole," he said. "Their Budget is just a collection of suggestions which don't seem to have any veracity."