The McGowan Government must convince its Labor colleagues in Canberra and other states to support the proposed GST overhaul or risk WA’s share remaining in the doldrums.
The Nationals WA Leader Mia Davies today welcomed the Federal Government’s proposal for Western Australia to receive an extra $4.7 billion of GST over the next eight years but warned the money could vanish if Federal Labor decided to play politics.
“There is a real possibility West Australians will not see a cent if Bill Shorten and Labor hijack the issue for political gain and turn states against each other,” Ms Davies said.
“The Federal Treasurer has said he wants all states and territories to agree on this proposal – including Labor-governed Queensland, Victoria and Northern Territory.
“This is not a fait accompli and bipartisan support will only eventuate if the McGowan Government can convince their Labor colleagues to support a fairer share for Western Australia.”
Ms Davies said she was concerned at the reform timeline proposed by the Turnbull Government.
“A week is a long time in politics, let alone eight years,” she said.
“If Bill Shorten wins next year’s Federal Election I am concerned he will throw out the current Government’s proposal to placate other states and territories and to shore up future support.”
Ms Davies said West Australians should not be made to feel thankful for finally getting a fair deal on the GST.
“The unabashed larceny which has occurred since 2010 has devastated Western Australia’s finances,” she said.
“The $4.7 billion proposed by the Turnbull Government goes nowhere close to compensating the tidal wave of cash which has flowed out of our State in recent years.
“In 2011, The Nationals WA member for O’Connor Tony Crook introduced a motion in the Federal Parliament to ensure WA’s share of GST would not drop below 75c.
“Mr Crook was the only West Australian MP to support the motion. Now, we’re looking at another eight years until total reform.
“Imagine if other WA MPs had the backbone to support Mr Crook’s proposal – we certainly wouldn’t still be talking about GST unfairness some seven years later.”
Ms Davies said the McGowan Government must commit to quarantining a portion of the extra GST funds to reversing its cruel cuts to core services in regional Western Australia.
“I am calling on the McGowan Government to now reverse its cruel decision to close Moora Residential College and reinstate the Royalties for Regions program to its initial purpose – that is, driving regional development and not using it to pay for sewerage subsidies and school bus services,” Ms Davies said.
“It is important that if WA is to receive new money that regional communities are not snubbed in favour of Labor election promises in the city such as Metronet – a project which has already had cost blowouts of hundreds of millions of dollars.”