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Extra GST revenue must be used to reverse regional cuts

For more information, contact Jacqui Boydell (Deputy Leader | Member for Mining and Pastoral Region).

The Nationals WA are calling for a small portion of the State’s GST windfall to be allocated to reversing Labor’s heartless cuts to regional education.

Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison today announced Western Australia would receive 47c for every dollar of GST the State generates in 2018-19.

The figure is 2c higher than WA Treasury had budgeted for, resulting in an additional $140 million flowing into State coffers.

WA will also receive an extra $122 million as a result of the growing national GST pool.

While remaining critical of WA’s “dud deal” on the GST, Deputy Leader Jacqui Boydell said the McGowan Government must use the unexpected revenue to reverse the cuts to regional education.

“This is Labor’s chance to show they care about regional Western Australia,” Ms Boydell said.

“A small portion of this new money can be spent on keeping Moora Residential College open, reversing the closure of regional camp schools and putting a stop to Labor’s proposed pilfering of the Agricultural Education Farm Provisions Trust.”

Ms Boydell said the McGowan Government had argued the cuts to regional education were necessary because Labor’s proposed gold royalty hike did not pass through Parliament.

“The unexpected changes to the GST have resulted in a Budget windfall which has already outstripped the revenue the Government expected to receive from its gold royalty cash grab,” Ms Boydell said.

“There really isn’t any excuse now to punish regional students. It’s a chance for the Premier, the Treasurer and the Education Minister to prove they don’t take regional people for granted and are not purposely robbing the bush to fund Perth projects.”

The Nationals education spokesman Peter Rundle said $5 million would keep the camp schools open, while Moora Residential College required about $500,000 to keep its doors open beyond this year. Reversing the skim on farm provisions trust would cost about $300,000.

“These are not large sums and with the unexpected revenue from the GST increase the Labor Government can comfortably redirect some funding to regional education,” Mr Rundle said.

Ms Boydell said the GST redistribution system still required a permanent fix and the major parties in Canberra were on notice.

“Both Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten must commit to ending the GST injustice if they wish to win the votes of West Australians at the upcoming election,” Ms Boydell said. “Top up payments and incremental increases to WA’s share are not good enough.”

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