WA budget for dummies

Money for education and mental health, and a mix of measures elsewhere in the state budget are being put forward by Treasurer Ben Wyatt today.

Here are some of the most important things young people need to know.

Budget highlights. Infographic: Neelam Dajee


Mental health and community care

The total funding dedicated to mental health services is a record high of $306 million.

There’s $24.4 million for 20 new beds at the Fremantle mental health hub.

The Meth Action Plan receives $322.2 million, going towards aid mental health, crisis support and drug and alcohol-related services.

Hospitals get $168.6 million for ‘general services’.


A total of $456.23 million has been dedicated to improve the public schooling system.

There is $200 million allocated to “high-priority maintenance at all WA public
schools, creating thousands of jobs for local workers”.

This budget has an increase of $225.8 million for the education sector compared to the previous year.


The government hopes the $4.7 million container deposit scheme will create 600 jobs.

The Environment Online initiative led by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) has been awarded $28 million to cut red tape and increase the efficiency of project approvals.

The Green Jobs Plan received $60.3 million and is predicted to create 1000 jobs within the state.

Despite the importance of the state budget, not all young people were across it:

Curtin students react to budget day. Video: Neelam Dajee.

UWA political science professor Benjamin Reilly says younger people need to get organised but it is not a surprise the budget was unheard of.

“It suggests they’re not terribly interested as students or young people. The unorganised ones will be at a disadvantage to the older people,” Professor Reilly says.

Budget cuts reaction
Neelam Dajee
Students demand change. Credit: Neelam Dajee

Unions WA secretary Meredith Hammat says the state budget will be very important for the young people of WA.

“We know young people are disproportionately affected by the pandemic because many of them work in industries that were the hardest hit, like hospitality and tourism,” she says.

The budget indicates $150 million dollars dedicated to the tourism industry, with funds allocated to the reduction of airfares and travel and the construction of national parks and other related services and facilities.

“Ensuring that there is something for young people in this budget, I think is a really important objective for the state government,” Ms Hammat says.

“Better access to TAFE courses to ensure they’re able to access training that will help them to find their first jobs, or assist them if they are transitioning from one industry to another.

“Many students at university will also welcome the recent announcement of the $600 credit for electricity accounts.”

She predicts we will see enormous growth in construction in the budget.

“I think one of the things that’s important is that we don’t just have a recovery that is concentrated on one or two industries. it needs to be a recovery where large numbers of industries are able to be supported,” Ms Hammat says.

“So we’re making sure majority of workers are getting some benefit. It is no surprise that the construction industry is one that employs many many men, but we need to have stimulus for other industries that make sure that there is going to be a recovery that benefits women and young people and indigenous workers as well.”

There’s no good news for the arts community, however, as the regional and local arts sector saw a $4 million decrease in funding, leaving the 2020-2021 budget with a low of $400,000.