If you're interested in getting an amateur radio licence, there are several ways to go. Local WA based clubs can help you with training and assessment. It's not difficult to get started, a weekend is often all you'll need. Several clubs offer training:
More information about licenses:
No, not since 2005. Better still, you don't even need to learn the phonetic alphabet, though it would be a good idea if you knew it.
Not true. You can talk to the world with half the power you have available as a beginner. Often with even less. You can experiment with your gear, antennas, participate in club activities and do much more than that.
It can be, but it doesn't need to be. You can get started with a $50 radio. The course cost varies depending on where you go for training. $25 for a syllabus, $75 for the actual license. After that you can spend as much or as little as you like.