Increases to hit �those who can least afford it�

The Opposition and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry have attacked the State Budget for failing to outline a plan to restore WA's AAA credit rating.

Responding to a Budget he claims is "mean and painful" and will impact on every West Australian, Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said debt was still forecast to balloon to almost $30 billion next financial year.

"When people have to pay more and more, way above the inflation rate, and when the Premier breaks his electricity promises, it is a Budget that is hurting the people who can least afford it," he said.

"This a mean and painful Budget from Mr Barnett and Dr Nahan that has no economic plan for the State's future and does nothing to restore the AAA credit rating."

BUDGET HITS FIRST HOMEBUYERS | REVIEW MAY INCREASE ELECTRICITY PRICES | OPPOSITION, CCI ATTACK BUDGET | DUMPING FEES SKYROCKET | $60m FOR COUNCIL MERGERS | HOUSEHOLDS TO BE SLUGGED | TOUGH LAWS LOST IN POLICE BUDGET | HIT FOR MOTORISTS, COMMUTERS | HEALTH GETS $447m TOP UP | PRIVATE SECTOR TO BUILD SCHOOLS | LITTLE JOY IN ARTS | FULL COVERAGE - WA BUDGET 2014

CCI WA chief executive Deidre Willmott said the Budget had not set WA on track to live within its means and revealed an inability to contain growth in spending.

Ms Willmott said Government expenditure would continue to grow without underlying reforms and debt showed no sign of peaking in the forward estimates.

She said any change in economic conditions would mean the Government's slim Budget surplus would disappear over the next four years.

"CCI is disappointed the Government hasn't been able to reduce debt levels in the forward estimates, with net debt climbing from $22 billion to almost $30 billion - an increase of 33 per cent since (the loss of) WA's AAA credit rating," Ms Willmott said.

WA Council of Social Service chief executive Irina Cattalini said the Budget failed to take cost of living pressures seriously enough.

"People who are on low incomes are already struggling," she said.

"And the price rises announced today go above and beyond what was promised by this Government to keep rises within the CPI." UnionsWA secretary Meredith Hammat said the Budget was tough for working people.

"This demonstrates the Barnett Government's lack of understanding for how difficult it is for working people in the State, how difficult it is to make ends meet," Ms Hammat said.

The RAC panned the Government for slugging motorists, with above-inflation rises to private motor vehicle licence registration and a doubling of the City of Perth parking levy.

The West Australian

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