Libs call for tax freeze in WA budget

·2-min read

The West Australian opposition has called for a freeze on all government taxes and charges in a state budget expected to deliver a multi-billion dollar surplus.

Shadow Treasurer Steve Thomas says the government must use Thursday's budget to deliver real cost of living relief.

He expects the government to provide an electricity rebate, a move the opposition will welcome.

"But a freeze on government fees and charges would go even further to support vulnerable families," Dr Thomas said.

"Every dollar counts for families in financial hardship and that is why supporting the community must be a priority in tomorrow's state budget.

"A freeze on all government fees and charges would give the greatest level of support."

The WA budget surplus in 2021/22 could top $6 billion after the state's finances surged into the black to the tune of $5.6 billion last year.

Dr Thomas said the windfall should also be used to pay down debt and cut taxes.

On Wednesday the government announced plans to invest more than $20 million in the budget to revitalise a key entertainment, tourism and cultural precinct at Fremantle.

Premier Mark McGowan unveiled plans to upgrade the Victoria Quay precinct at the mouth of the Swan River.

An initial $7.5 million will be spent to enhance public space at the historic port, providing shade, seating, landscaping, improved public space, and pedestrian and cycle pathways, with works expected to start later this year.

Up to $5 million will be spent investigating the relocation of the area's vehicle shipping operations, opening up the area for new community, business or tourism opportunities.

Another $2 million will be spent investigating the feasibility of relocating livestock shipping from the Fremantle Port.

The budget includes a further $2.5 million to assist the Future of Fremantle project to continue examining land use and economic development opportunities in and around Victoria Quay.

Some $3.5 million will fund works associated with the historic HMAS Ovens submarine at the WA Maritime Museum.

"Victoria Quay has remarkable potential to become one of Western Australia's best entertainment, tourism and cultural precincts," Mr McGowan said on Wednesday.

"It is a stunning location with incredible historical value, which offers amazing opportunities for Fremantle.

"Many of the great cities of the world have transformed their historic ports into wonderful community and entertainment assets, and my government is focused on creating something terrific for Fremantle."

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