The Nationals have confirmed the party will block any move by the McGowan Government to increase the gold royalty rate and payroll tax in the State Parliament.
The decision was made today by the Parliamentary National Party on the grounds the Government’s two broken promises will destroy jobs in regional Western Australia while delivering little benefit to the State’s bottom-line.
Leader Mia Davies said The Nationals would support the Government’s appropriation bills but as the State’s only independent regional party, The Nationals had a duty to protect jobs and businesses in the regions.
“The McGowan Government went to the State election armed with $5 billion worth of promises, a majority of which were in the Perth area, despite being fully aware of the structural challenges facing the Budget,” Ms Davies said.
“The slug on gold miners and the tax on jobs have been introduced to allow the Government to deliver projects such as Metronet, not to reduce debt, and will have a drastic effect on employment.”
Ms Davies said the two Labor measures would raise a combined $827 million, a drop in the ocean compared to the $7.2 billion plan taken to the 2017 election by The Nationals.
“It is galling to see the McGowan Government take the axe to the Royalties for Regions program and cutting 3000 jobs in the public service when The Nationals had taken a plan to the election that would have raised $7.2 billion over the forward estimates,” Ms Davies said.
“Unlike the McGowan Government’s tax on the gold sector and payroll tax hike, The Nationals had the courage to take our plan to the people of Western Australia. We laid our cards on the table.”
BHP and Rio Tinto booked profits of $7.4 billion and $4.95 billion (AUD) respectively last financial year, yet the McGowan Government has so far been too afraid to ask the State’s most profitable companies to assist in getting the Budget back on solid footing.
“Instead, the Premier wants to slap a 50 per cent royalty increase on gold miners, which have comparatively small profit margins. This will curtail exploration in the gold sector and derail expansion plans,” Ms Davies said.
“Labor have proven that election promises mean nothing, unless those promises are made to BHP and Rio Tinto.”
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