As part of Labor’s election promises for the forthcoming state election, South Australian Premier, Jay Weatherill, has pledged a massive $2.3B infrastructure spending package.
It includes a $538M tram service extension to North Adelaide and Norwood, a $700M deep-water port on the Eyre Peninsular and upgrades of seven level rail crossings in Adelaide, amongst other significant projects.
According to Put WA First convenor, Chas Hopkins, these election sweeteners are being funded by Western Australia’s GST.
Under the current GST Fiscal Equalisation scheme, the South Australian Government will collect around $6.4 billion compared to Western Australia’s $2.3 billion this year.
“They call it an equalisation scheme but it is just the opposite,” said Mr Hopkins.
WA has a population over fifty percent higher than South Australia and yet will receive a little over a third of what they will receive in 2018. There is nothing equal about that.”
Mr Hopkins said that if WA received the same level of GST returns as South Australia we could eliminate the massive budget cuts sweeping State Government departments.
“For instance, it would enable the continued funding of Royalties for Regions, keep the School of the Air and Moora College open, bring down waiting times in hospital emergency departments, put more policemen on the beat, put a lid on service charges, fund many struggling government agencies, and a lot more.
“On top of that, it would put the state budget back into surplus and start reducing the $40billion deficit the ‘GST rip off’ has caused already.”
Chas Hopkins is a former Lord Mayor of Perth who has recently applied to register Put WA First as a political party formed to fight for a fair GST dividend for WA.
“I am doing this because we are being bulldozed by the eastern states and we need to do something about it,” he concluded.