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The Federal Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson must secure a fair GST deal for Western Australia or retire from Federal Parliament, according to The Nationals WA Candidate for Kalgoorlie and former Federal MP Tony Crook.
Mr Wilson this week said the issue of GST returns was a “parochial interest for WA” and that he would not be prepared to bargain for a better outcome – despite holding the balance of power in Federal Parliament.
“Mr Wilson and WA’s Federal Liberal MPs have the numbers to ensure that WA receives a fair share of the GST,” Mr Crook said.
“If Mr Wilson won’t support a fair share of the GST for his home-state he should do the honest thing by the people of O’Connor. He should pack his bags and relocate to Canberra because he doesn’t represent WA.
“The people of O’Connor should meet Mr Wilson at the airport when he flies back and tell him to turn around and get back on the plane. He’s not welcome in WA with his Eastern-States focused attitude.
“It’s a blatant act of political cowardice by Mr Wilson and WA’s Federal MPs. You hold the balance of power, so get off your backside and use it.”
In 2011, Mr Crook moved a Private Member’s Motion in Federal Parliament calling on a 75 per cent floor in the GST for all States and Territories. Had the motion been implemented, it would have saved WA more than $16 billion. Instead it was voted down by every single one of WA’s Federal MPs.
“I sat alone in Federal Parliament to stand up for Western Australia, and Mr Wilson said I was acting irresponsibly and grandstanding,” Mr Crook said.
“I moved that motion with the unanimous support of the WA State Parliament, including Premier Colin Barnett, Leader of The Nationals WA Brendon Grylls, former Opposition leader Eric Ripper and former Treasurer Christian Porter.
“Mr Wilson is now in the unique position of being able to deliver billions of dollars back to Western Australia, if he chooses to do so.
“If he can vote for a $50 billion submarine program for South Australia, I would hope he could find the political courage to act in the best interests of his home-state.
Mr Crook said the issue of the GST was far more than a “parochial interest” for Western Australia.
“It is the single biggest economic challenge for our State. It impacts every single family, business and community in Western Australia because if the State doesn’t receive a fair share of the GST then revenue needs to be raised by other means - such as increasing fees and charges or cutting services.”
Mr Crook said The Nationals WA had introduced a policy to deliver a new revenue stream for the State by reforming outdated State Agreements with iron ore producers Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton.
“It is because of the historical low GST return that WA receives that The Nationals WA have had to find an alternative revenue source.”