Trea­surer skirts around GST is­sue

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS -

TREA­SURER Scott Mor­ri­son paid a visit to Bel­mont re­cently dur­ing his trip to Perth to an­nounce fund­ing for a new com­mu­nity cen­tre.

While he was there, the Gazette asked him about WA’s eco­nomic fu­ture in the wake of the min­ing boom, the im­pact of GST top-ups for the state and what he’s ex­pect­ing from the Pro­duc­tiv­ity Com­mis­sion’s re­view into the GST carve-up.

WA cur­rently re­ceives a re­turn of 34.4 cents in the dol­lar of GST, with many call­ing for a shake-up of the sys­tem. Now that WA is com­ing down from the min­ing boom, what kind of im­pact do you think GST top-ups will have for lo­cals?

There was just un­der $230 mil­lion in this lat­est bud­get for this.

There was $500 mil­lion in the two pre­vi­ous bud­gets to bring it back up to the 2014-15 lev­els… which is still very low com­pared to the other states and ter­ri­to­ries, but we’ve put our money where our mouth is.

$1.2 bil­lion says we get it, we get that it’s a prob­lem. And the rea­son we’ve put all that top-up money into in­fra­struc­ture… you’ve got peo­ple tran­si­tion­ing out of the min­ing projects and a lot of those were in con­struc­tion.

So you’ve seen that ta­per off in WA and peo­ple are com­ing back to Perth. They were FIFOing out of Perth be­fore, but now those skills can be re­de­ployed to these types of projects.

But we’re also see­ing in the west, I think we had 28,000 full­time jobs that we’ve cre­ated over the last 12 months.

And they’re find­ing them­selves in other sec­tors and new ar­eas that are pop­ping up.

Part of the dis­place­ment ac­tiv­ity we saw from the min­ing in­vest­ment up north was that it was sort of drag­ging a lot of re­sources and peo­ples and skills… I re­mem­ber when I was com­ing over at that time, the big­gest con­cerns were that you couldn’t get peo­ple to work in a cafe or restau­rant in Perth be­cause all were go­ing north.

So you’re see­ing a sort of re­bal­anc­ing of that stuff here. What kind of out­come can we ex­pect from the pro­duc­tiv­ity com­mis­sion?

I’m not pre­judg­ing it and it’s im­por­tant that I don’t.

I know what out­come many peo­ple would like and I’m be­ing very care­ful not to raise ex­pec­ta­tions but just to work me­thod­i­cally through the is­sue.

The best solution will be a last­ing one and a last­ing solution will based on very cred­i­ble, solid work that jus­ti­fies the de­ci­sion that’s made one way or an­other.

There’s been a large num­ber of sub­mis­sions that have come into the pro­duc­tiv­ity com­mis­sion from the west and that’s great, as I ex­pected there would be.

They haven’t been given an op­por­tu­nity by gov­ern­ment be­fore to ex­press them­selves con­struc­tively into a process that’s ex­am­in­ing the very thing they want ad­dressed.

Scott Mor­ri­son.

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