Federal Member for O’Connor, Tony Crook, has voiced his support for Premier Barnett’s stance on the Gonski reforms, saying that in the context of WA’s raw deal on GST, the Premier has every right to hold out on Federal reforms that often cost the States so much to administer.
“I am all for additional support and funding from Canberra – the NDIS, assistance packages for farmers and extra funding for our education system are all much-needed and welcomed initiatives - but the Gillard Government is repeatedly falling short of the mark when it comes to supporting Western Australia.”
Mr Crook went on to say that the Federal Government’s recent $600m increase to the proposed Gonski deal was a complete insult.
“We are talking about properly funding our education system not buying a used car! Bartering is simply inappropriate.
“If it is true that the Gillard Government has so far been unaware of the vastness of this state, then it is absolutely clear that reforms it is trying to push through at the last hurdle should be eyed with a good deal of suspicion.
“I am not against the Gonski reforms per se, but I am against a Federal Government that is milking Western Australia for all its worth, while at the same time failing to recognise its needs.”
Mr Crook said he has not discussed the issue with the Premier, and does not know whether a deal will eventually be done on Gonski. However, if recent experience with the Farm Finance package is anything to go by, the costs of administering the Gonski reforms would have a significant impact on the overall cost/benefit scenario of these reforms for the States.
“If Western Australia was getting a fair deal on GST, then it would be much easier to bear these sorts of costs. Western Australia is not just the cash cow of the nation. It is a unique state with a whole host of regional issues experienced on a scale unlike any other state. It is time the Gillard Government gave due and proper consideration to this and offered real support at a commensurate level.
“I’m sure that Mr Barnett will be just as dogmatic with the next Federal Government, when dealing with federal and state relations.”
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