Western Australian households will be forced to fix the State Budget because Premier Mark McGowan lacks the courage to enter negotiations with the State’s biggest mining companies to update an outdated 1960s charge in their State Agreements.
The McGowan Government this week announced staggering increases to everyday fees and charges, including electricity (up 10.9 per cent per annum) and water (up 6 per cent) which will see households across the Agricultural Region fork out around $440 extra each year.
Member for the Agricultural Region Colin de Grussa said Labor’s hike of fixed electricity charges meant it was not possible for households to cut what they pay by reducing consumption.
“The price will go up no matter what – every household will pay an extra $169 per annum,” Mr de Grussa said.
“This is a slap in the face for WA mums and dads, small businesses and pensioners when the Premier has feebly rejected The Nationals’ policy of negotiating an increase to the 25 cent special lease rental paid by BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto.”
“The Nationals accept the miners pay a significant amount of royalties to the State – most of which ends up going East because of the ludicrous GST redistribution system. However, we cannot sit idly by while a 25c rental fee which has never been increased since it was struck 50 years ago remains untouched.”
“The McGowan Government has stated that everyone needs to share in the pain but these increases only create pain for households and not much gain for budget repair.”
The State Government will also raid the back pockets of households through increases to vehicle licence charges, up 5.5 per cent, motor injury insurance, up 2.8 per cent, and driver’s licence fees, up1.7 per cent. The emergency services levy will also jump 3.35 per cent.
Mr de Grussa said Labor’s harsh measures would only generate an extra $59.5 million per year over the forward estimates, a pittance compared to The Nationals’ policy which would have seen state debt reduced by billions through an increase to the special lease rental.”
“Labor is not prepared to sit down and have a hard conversation with Rio Tinto and BHP so ordinary West Australians are being asked to pick up the bill,” Mr de Grussa said.
“Those who can least afford it will be hit hardest, including self-funded retirees and seniors without a means-tested Commonwealth concession card who will now have rebates for water and local government charges capped at $100 each.”
“Labor can blame the previous Government until they are blue in the face but Mark McGowan went to the March election with $5 billion worth of election promises – the vast majority of which were city promises. Make no mistake, Labor’s slug on households is to fund Metronet, not create savings.”