PM vague on GST prom­ise

Pilbara News - - Election 2017 - Daniel Mercer, Daniel Emer­son and Dy­lan Ca­porn

Mal­colm Turn­bull has shied away from com­mit­ting to a dead­line for a WA GST floor just months af­ter sug­gest­ing one could be in­tro­duced within four years.

The Prime Min­is­ter ducked GST ques­tions in Perth last week de­spite claims by Colin Bar­nett that it is the most im­por­tant is­sue fac­ing the State.

Mr Turn­bull used out­dated fig­ures to over­es­ti­mate the rate at which WA’s GST share would re­bound to al­low a floor to be im­ple­mented.

Dur­ing a press con­fer­ence in Hen­der­son to an­nounce $100 mil­lion for up­grades to de­fence ship­build­ing fa­cil­i­ties, Mr Turn­bull ac­knowl­edged WA’s GST share of 30¢ in the dol­lar was “too low” but did not out­line a timetable to im­prove it.

He pledged at the Lib­eral State con­fer­ence six months ago to work to­wards in­tro­duc­ing a floor be­low which no State’s GST share could fall.

Mr Turn­bull also in­di­cated the log­i­cal time to im­ple­ment the mea­sure would be when WA’s share re­bounded of its own ac­cord to en­sure no other States were left out of pocket.

At the time, WA’s share was pre­dicted to rise to 76¢ in the dol­lar in 2019-20. At that rate it would be roughly in line with other States and Ter­ri­to­ries.

How­ever, that fore­cast was re­vised down sharply to 66¢ in the dol­lar in De­cem­ber’s mid-year re­view and 60¢ in this month’s pre­elec­tion fi­nan­cial pro­jec­tions state­ment from State Trea­sury.

Last week, the Pre­mier said he would like more de­tail from Mr Turn­bull on the floor and pre­dicted the GST would be the first ques­tion the Prime Min­is­ter would be pressed on when he re­turned to WA.

Faced with the ques­tion last week, Mr Turn­bull was non-com­mit­tal. Af­ter ini­tially in­sist­ing WA’s GST share would re­cover to be­tween 70¢ and 75¢ by 2019-20, he ac­knowl­edged that higher iron ore prices would de­lay any re­bound.

But he re­fused to be drawn on whether this would have any im­pli­ca­tions for the tim­ing of a floor. And asked what rate in the dol­lar would be im­posed, he said only it would need to be agreed to by other States. “The time to set the floor, as we have agreed, as we have ac­knowl­edged, is when there won’t be losers,” Mr Turn­bull said.

“I’m the Prime Min­is­ter lead­ing the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment. “I can’t take the cause of one State against all the other ju­ris­dic­tions.”

When it was sug­gested by the me­dia his prom­ise had been pushed out to the “never never”, Mr Turn­bull shrugged off the crit­i­cism as “not very op­ti­mistic” and said he did not re­gard 2020 as very far away.

Op­po­si­tion leader Mark McGowan said Mr Turn­bull and Mr Bar­nett had failed to se­cure a bet­ter GST deal for WA.

“Mr Turn­bull, like Mr Bar­nett, is com­pletely out of touch,” he said. “What’s happened here with the so-called GST com­mit­ment is . . . Mr Turn­bull is claim­ing vic­tory be­cause 37¢ in the dol­lar — he thinks that’s a good out­come for WA. That’s pa­thetic.”

Pic­ture: Si­mon Santi

WA Pre­mier Colin Bar­nett, Austal chief ex­ec­u­tive David Singleton, Sen­a­tor Linda Reynolds and Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull tour Austal at the WA Marine Com­plex in Hen­der­son, WA.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.