Federal Budget must not take WA for granted, says Fremantle MHR Josh Wilson

THE Federal Government needs to stop taking WA for granted when it releases the Budget, according to Fremantle MHR Josh Wilson.

Released on May 9, Mr Wilson said the Budget needed to “wake up to the needs of Western Australia” instead of taking it and its residents for granted.

Squarely in his sights is the $1.2 billion of Federal money that had been put aside for the Perth Freight Link.

“The first test is to see every single dollar of the $1.2 billion allocated to the ridiculous Perth Freight Link kept in the budget and made available for transport projects identified through a proper process by the WA government,” he said.

“In my electorate, this includes the Community Connect South project, the Thornlie-Cockburn rail link and the long-awaited upgrade of the Stirling Highway-High Street intersection.

“The second test is to see a substantial GST top-up payment, which has to be made without strings attached.”

Tangney MHR Ben Morton admitted the state’s share in the GST, which is now 34c for every dollar raised after the Commonwealth Grants Commission released its annual distribution figures last month, was low but accused Mr Wilson of “politicking pre-Budget”.

“There’s no question WA’s share of the GST is unacceptably low, that WA has been getting a raw deal,” he said.

“The Productivity Commission review into GST sharing arrangements will look towards a long-term distribution of the GST and make sure Commonwealth-State funding boosts productivity and growth in every state and territory.

“WA Liberal members and senators have made very strong representations for a number of years, that’s why the Federal Government has made additional infrastructure payments to our state.”

However, Mr Wilson said more needed to be done.

“The Productivity Commission review of the GST system does not remove the need for WA to receive fair compensation for the dismal return of GST to the state under the current broken formula,” he said.