City of Kwinana to urge PM and Opposition Leader to increase WA share of GST

Carol Adams.
Carol Adams.

CITY of Kwinana has joined a local government campaign protesting against the “dire state” of WA’s “inequitable” share of the goods and services tax (GST).

Mayor Carol Adams has written to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, urging them to increase the rate from 37c to 70c.

“We believe the inequitable distribution is negatively affecting the standard of living of all West Australians,” Cr Adams said.

“No state should continue to subsidise other states for so long or to such an extent as is the case with WA.”

She said the state’s mining boom was over and it was reasonable that WA should be getting a larger share of GST revenue.

“In fact, we are of the opinion that it should never drop below 70c,” she said.

Cr Adams said the State Government had indicated it would need to make tough decisions because of the GST issue which was affecting local governments.

“On July 16 the Minister for Transport…announced that direct untied road maintenance grants would be cut by $10 million,” she said.

“This will mean that the City of Kwinana grant is cut by $73,453.”

The State Government had also tried to remove vehicle licensing concessions for councils but the move was thwarted in the Upper House.

Cr Adams said “it seems ludicrous that WA is hurting financially”.

“This in turn makes the (State) government hurt local government financially,” she said.

WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt said the state’s GST share was still very low at only 34.4 per cent of its population share despite four years of domestic recession and very significant revenue write downs.

“The current methods contain serious flaws, such as an assumption that differences in states’ economic strengths are purely luck, rather than influenced by states’ policies,” he said.

During a recent visit to WA, Mr Turnbull said he was the first prime minister to acknowledge that WA was not getting a fair deal from the GST.

“It is very important that any changes to the GST are done in a way seen as being fair to all Australians,” he said.

Mr Shorten acknowledged that WA was not getting its fair share but has not committed to increasing it.

“I don’t want to see any state disadvantaged, but no doubt WA is not getting its fair share of support from the Commonwealth,” he said.

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