Ex Perth Lord Mayor, Charles Hopkins has described yesterday’s Productivity Commission Draft Report on GST Distribution as a farce. “It did not even come close to delivering a solution to fixing WA’s GST problem, we are back where we started”, he said.
While the Productivity Commissioners recognised the inequality of WA’s situation, the nine key recommendations fell short of putting forward any definitive solutions. Some excerpts from the report are:
- ‘One thing that emerges from the assessment of different approaches is that none of the approaches are perfect, and none is universally accepted by participants.’
- ‘Reducing GST payments to the fiscally weaker states would be undesirable.’
- ‘An actual per capita approach… has significant risks for adverse efficiency effects… and on these grounds is an unacceptable alternative to current arrangements.’
- ‘… a (GST payment) floor will likely prove a band-aid solution and does not address the identified deficiencies of HFE (the current system).’
“The situation is exacerbated by Scott Morrison’s rhetoric”, he continued, “he says it needs a proper fix, but does he honestly believe he will find a solution at the state treasurers meeting on October 27? They have all strongly expressed their opposition to a change already. It will never happen!”
Scott Morrison has also recently indicated that states that do not develop their gas reserves with contentious fracking, could be penalised with their GST distribution.
“It proves my point” Charles said, “the Federal Government is prepared to redistribute GST payments as a fix for gas shortages in the Eastern States, but can’t get agreement for a bigger return than 34 cents in the dollar for WA. The duplicity is astounding”.
Charles Hopkins recently announced the formation of a new political party to fight for a better deal for WA on GST allocations, the Put WA First Party.
The party has put a submission to the Productivity Commission. They are in the process of reviewing the commission’s draft report and plan to issue a public response in due course.
Charles said ‘the single objective of the party is to achieve a fair GST dividend for WA with no strings attached, we have a right to this. We don’t want another one-off freebie, we want a minimum of 80 cents in the dollar paid to WA legitimately, without any trade offs, concessions or conditions.
We haven’t come across a West Australian yet, that doesn’t support us on this issue and believe the only way to fix the GST is at the ballot box”, said Hopkins.