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Time to pay the cost of the $30.5 billion GST rip-off

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The Nationals WA candidate for O’Connor, John Hassell, has today invoiced each of WA’s Federal MPs and Senators more than $30.5 billion for their failure to act on the GST rip-off.

“On behalf of the people of Western Australia, please find enclosed an invoice for the total cost of your inaction - $30,503,600,000,” Mr Hassell wrote. “Your inaction on the issue of GST distributions has cost your home state billions of dollars since 2010.”

Mr Hassell said the invoice was a wake-up-call for WA’s Federal representatives, regardless of which party they represented.

“While your Eastern States colleagues are promising billion dollar rail projects in Western Sydney and hundreds of millions more for big ticket election promises in marginal seats, WA is missing out on billions of dollars that our State is entitled to.”

Mr Hassell took a swipe at the WA Liberal Party in particular for failing to take action on the issue.

“The reality is that the WA Liberal Party, despite having 11 MPs and six Senators from WA, have done nothing to fix this issue,” Mr Hassell said.

“They clearly have the numbers to do something, but they lack the political will. The people of WA deserve more than a ‘strongly worded letter’ right before the Federal Election.”

Mr Hassell said if elected on July 2 he would champion the cause for a fair GST return for Western Australia.

“I’ll introduce a Private Members Bill to establish a 75 per cent floor on GST returns for all States and Territories. This is in line with a previous motion put forward by former Nationals WA MP Tony Crook and supported by Premier Colin Barnett and all members of State Parliament in 2011,” he said.

“The issues that Mr Crook raised in relation to the GST were not supported by WA’s representatives in Federal Parliament, however just a few years later the GST loss to Western Australia has proven to be far worse than anyone could have predicted in 2011.”

From 2010 – 2017, State Budget papers reveal WA has missed out on $21.7533 billion in GST returns, which could have largely been avoided with a 75 per cent GST floor. From 2018 – 2020, a further $8.7503 billion loss is forecast.

Mr Hassell said a 75 per cent GST floor would have boosted WA’s bottom line by approximately $22.8777 billion between 2010 and 2020.

“What was good policy in 2011 is even better policy in 2016, and I’ll be seeking the support of each of WA’s Federal MPs and Senators in Federal Parliament to support my motion for a GST floor.

“This GST floor will ensure no State or Territory is able to fall below a 75 per cent GST return as Western Australia has for 10 years running from 2010-2020. It will ensure a fair share of GST for all States, while allowing economically strong States such as WA and Queensland to continue to support weaker States where required.”

Mr Hassell said his motion had the opportunity to succeed where Mr Crook’s original motion was voted down.

“In 2011, Mr Crook put forward a motion which asked Federal MPs to predict a situation which had never occurred before in Australia’s history and which most of WA’s Federal representatives didn’t understand and had no appetite to change,” he said.

“The economic circumstances have changed dramatically since 2011.

“A $30.5 billion loss to the State, growing State debt, a slowing economy and a far greater public interest in the GST issue in recent years means it is now, for the first time, in the best interests of WA’s Federal MPs to support my motion.”

Mr Hassell said Federal MPs and Senators who did not support the motion should not seek to contest the upcoming Federal election.

“If WA’s Federal MPs and Senators won’t support my motion they should resign,” Mr Hassell said.

The Nationals WA have a proven track record of standing up for this issue in Federal Parliament and a vote for The Nationals WA will ensure a fair GST deal for Western Australia.