Brendon Grylls MLA has today been appointed as Leader of The Nationals WA and will pursue a policy platform in the lead up to the 2017 State election with the aim of reducing State budget deficit and creating new jobs.
Mr Grylls announced the policy platform today saying The Nationals will seek to introduce a new revenue stream for the State by raising the 25 cent production rental in the State Agreements with Rio Tinto Iron Ore (RTIO) and BHPB Iron Ore (BHP) to five dollars.
“The State Agreements have afforded enormous benefits to RTIO and BHP, however they are now out of date and do not reflect modern practices including Singapore trading hubs, contracting, fly-in-fly-out workforces and automation,” Mr Grylls said.
“It is unfair that this production rental that has existed in the original State Agreement has never been changed since it was created in the 1960s,” Mr Grylls said.
“The Nationals WA believe that the State and taxpayers have facilitated a huge expansion of the iron ore industry at great cost to our State budget and the big miners are not paying their fair share.”
Increasing the production rental to five-dollars-per-tonne is expected to raise $7.2 billion across the forward estimates.
“It will return the budget to surplus and give us scope to discuss new policy settings like a reduction in payroll tax for small and medium businesses to stimulate employment and new jobs.”
Mr Grylls said WA’s dire GST situation had led The Nationals WA to seek an alternative revenue stream for the State.
“These two miners have made almost $140 billion US since 2010, and Western Australia has facilitated that,” he said.
Mr Grylls said if WA’s GST return was to improve, the special lease rental could be reduced or withdrawn.
The Nationals WA will also seek to reform WA’s domestic gas policy with the aim of stimulating major projects to creating new jobs.
The Nationals WA have reaffirmed their opposition to the sale of Fremantle Port, but will be open to supporting future asset sales providing that 100 per cent of the proceeds are invested in infrastructure to create jobs.
“We believe the State has a role to drive WA out of the downturn, but you can’t do that with budget deficits and a fundamentally flawed GST system without recycling assets.”
Mr Grylls and former leader Terry Redman MLA confirmed that they have met with Premier Colin Barnett to discuss these policies.
“We have agreed to bring the senior members of both parties together to agree on strategies to repair the budget deficit, create jobs and bring the Federal Government to the table on GST reform.”
Terry Redman MLA will continue as Minister for Regional Development and Lands.
Colin Holt MLC will step down from his role as Minister for Housing; Racing and Gaming and it is expected that this role will be taken on by Mr Grylls.
State President of The Nationals WA James Hayward thanked former Leader Terry Redman for his role in serving as Leader of The Nationals WA.
“On behalf of The Nationals and regional Western Australia we thank Mr Redman for his hard work and dedication as Leader over the past three years,” Mr Hayward said.