The Nationals WA have ramped up pressure on Labor to use part proceeds from Mark McGowan’s new foreign buyers tax to reverse a suite of cruel education cuts.
Less than a week after the Government voted down an amendment in the lower house, The Nationals today introduced the same amendment in the upper house which, if accepted by members of the Legislative Council, will see Moora Residential College saved and other education cuts reversed.
Leader Mia Davies said her party would support the Government’s legislation if Labor agreed to The Nationals’ demands.
“The McGowan Government continues to show an arrogance which defies logic,” Ms Davies said.
“Prior to the election Mark McGowan announced a 4 per cent foreign buyers tax. After the election he ratcheted the tax up to 7 per cent without warning or consultation.
“The Nationals want to use a small percentage of this broken promise to fix the cruel cuts Mr McGowan has made to regional education, yet the Premier refuses to budge.”
Prior to the 2017 election, Labor proposed to use proceeds of the foreign buyers tax – about $70 million over three years – from the new tax to fund a freeze on TAFE fees.
“Since announcing the proposed hike to 7 per cent, the Government expects revenue to be in the vicinity of $123 million – an amount over and above what is required to freeze TAFE fees,” Ms Davies said.
“Last week, Labor voted to keep that extra money in Government’s hands rather than save Moora Residential College, reverse the closure of regional camp schools and stop the raid on the Agricultural Farm Provisions Trust.
“We’ve given the Government, the Liberals and the crossbench the chance to make a difference to the lives of thousands of regional families.
“If they support our amendment in the Upper House, the Government will have no option but to back down on their regional education cuts or risk losing their bill in the Legislative Council.”
Member for the Agricultural Region Martin Aldridge, who gave notice of the motion in the Legislative Council today, said with only four members in the upper house The Nationals were pushing for others to support this measure.
“This is a chance for the Upper House to make a stand and support The Nationals’ amendment for the benefit of all regional students and their families,” he said.
“I encourage them to join us in this fight.”