October 9, 2019

McGowan must act in response to draft report on GST

The Liberal Opposition has called for an immediate bi-partisan commitment from the Federal Government and Federal Opposition to reform horizontal fiscal equalisation (HFE) to restore an equitable return of GST to Western Australia.

Opposition Leader Mike Nahan today welcomed the Productivity Commission’s (PC) draft report and its recognition of the financial hardship inflicted on Western Australia by the current system of horizontal fiscal equalisation (HFE) but cautioned the report did not offer a solution.

“While the State Government is out there claiming this is a win for them, it is a very long way from a win for the people of WA,” Dr Nahan said.

“It is however a win for the Turnbull Government and West Australian Federal Liberals against Federal Labor which said in its submission to the Productivity Commission that no change was needed.

“The report clearly articulates the grossly unfair distribution of GST revenue that saw the previous Liberal led Government forced to write down record amounts of revenue year after year, but then recommends only some tinkering at the edges of the system by way of reform.

“Fundamental reform is required and that will only happen with bi-partisan support in Canberra, the McGowan Government must bring Bill Shorten and his Federal colleagues to heel.”

Dr Nahan said that during its eight years in Opposition, Labor had insisted there was no GST problem in WA.

“Only now that they are in Government has Labor suddenly decided it is a gross inequity that WA is returned only 34 cents of every dollar collected in GST,” Dr Nahan said.

“Perhaps if Labor had joined with the Government while in Opposition and lobbied their Federal counterparts to do the same we could have already been benefitting from reform.

“The test for the McGowan Government now is to get unequivocal support from Federal Labor for reform, so that long-term, meaningful reform can happen as soon as possible for the benefit of all Western Australians.”

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