Sup­port GST floor, La­bor MPs urged

Pilbara News - - News - Gareth Parker

For­mer WA trea­surer and se­nior Turn­bull Gov­ern­ment min­is­ter Chris­tian Porter has called on WA La­bor MPs to sup­port the prin­ci­ple of a GST floor un­equiv­o­cally, say­ing they cam­paigned on the is­sue and must sup­port ef­forts to change the sys­tem.

Mr Porter could not say ex­actly when a floor would be im­posed or at what level, but claimed Prime Min­is­ter Malcolm Turn­bull’s speech last week­end in which he said he would work to­wards in­tro­duc­ing a GST floor as the “most sig­nif­i­cant pol­icy sug­ges­tion and prin­ci­ple of­fered on this (GST) is­sue”.

Mr Porter said he had been en­gaged in the GST de­bate for many years, and it was crit­i­cal WA La­bor acted in a bi­par­ti­san way.

“I saw Clive Palmer mail out to ev­ery fam­ily in WA that he was go­ing to fix the GST and lit­er­ally he did noth­ing — not come up with an idea, ar­range a meet­ing, en­gage in any lob­by­ing,” he said.

“Now I am watch­ing (La­bor MPs). Where are these guys?”

Mr Porter said it would be a mat­ter for Mr Turn­bull to ne­go­ti­ate, but he saw it as log­i­cal to im­pose a floor in about 2019-20 when WA’s GST share was pro­jected to rise above 75 cents again.

In State Par­lia­ment last week, Premier Colin Bar­nett claimed Mr Turn­bull wanted to act on the floor “this year”.

A spokesman for Mr Turn­bull pointed to his speech last week­end and Fed­eral Trea­surer Scott Mor­ri­son’s com­ments on ra­dio last week that a floor would be in­tro­duced af­ter States’ GST shares had nor­malised.

New La­bor Mem­ber for Perth and shadow as­sis­tant min­is­ter for WA Tim Ham­mond said it was dif­fi­cult to ex­press a view on Mr Turn­bull’s com­ments be­cause of their lack of de­tail.

He said Mr Turn­bull had pre­vi­ously pro­posed lift­ing the rate of GST and then fun­da­men­tally re­form­ing the Fed­er­a­tion, but both ideas had been quickly aban­doned.

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