Have you ever heard of the Pilbara Cities plan? No? Well, I knew only vaguely. WA gets about as much coverage in the eastern states as New England does in Sydney, and for the same reasons. It's not seen as really relevant to the media audience.
In simple terms, the WA Government is spending a billion dollars over four years on housing and infrastructure in the Pilbara. The intent is to help the area accommodate growth from its present population of about 36,000.
I don't know whether or not the plan makes sense. I haven't done the analysis to form a judgement. Yet I couldn't help wincing.
In WA, a resurgent National Party forced the allocation of royalty payments to the regions. This was in fact much criticised by mainstream political commentators. In NSW, the growing mining royalty stream went straight into consolidated revenue to be frittered away across the state.
I wonder how people in Newcastle and the Hunter coal towns with their straining infrastructure would feel if they actually knew about the WA example? I bet they don't. The same level of additional spend in NSW in those areas would absorb less than a quarter of of NSW royalty payments over four years.
How about it NSW Nats? Feel like joining in?