This article is from the 23 September 2017 issue of The West Australian Newspaper Digital Edition. For convenient access to WA’s leading source of news, when you’re unable to purchase a print edition, please subscribe at thewest.com.au/digitaledition.
A $73 billion hole in WA’s infrastructure needs has been created by an unfair GST system that continues to channel billions of dollars to other parts of the country.
An analysis by the Federal Parliamentary Library of the way money has been siphoned out of WA suggests close to 100,000 more people would be in work if the GST system was changed. The work, commissioned by WA Liberal Dean Smith, comes after The West Australian’s revelations that the State’s taxpayers had sunk $171 billion into running the Federation over and above what they had received in Commonwealth benefits and services.
According to the library, since the start of the GST system until 2015-16 , WA has contributed $186 billion to running the nation.
Assuming that 35 per cent of that money would have been spent on infrastructure and other services within WA, the library believes the State has gone without $73 billion worth of projects.
From roads to new schools and planning for an outer harbour, the library believes the money would have delivered a major economic boost to WA.
That boost would have been through the creation of 94,341 full-time jobs.
An extra 94,000 workers would take total employment in WA well above one million and cut the unemployment rate to 3 per cent. It is now 5.9 per cent. The increase in infrastructure spending would take pressure off the State Budget and the extra workers would boost payroll tax collections for the WA Treasury.
Senator Smith said there was a real cost to the WA economy, the Budget and the lifestyle of West Australians under the GST allocation.
He said the lost money was the equivalent of 70 Perth stadiums or 2400 full-time nurses.
“The loss of important infrastructure dollars impacts directly our current and future export opportunities, undermines the capacity for innovation and entrenches the tyranny of distance between Perth and our regional cities and towns,” he said.
“Critically, the loss of jobs undermines WA families’ confidence in their immediate employment opportunities, and the future opportunities for their children and grandchildren .”
The Productivity Commission’s draft report on the GST allocation is due to be released next month.