Moore MP Shane Love MLA is calling for a small allocation of the State’s GST windfall to reverse the Labor Government’s cuts to regional education.
Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison announced this week 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, Mr Love said the McGowan Government must use the unexpected revenue – in excess of $260 million – to reinstate Moora College, save the state’s six regional camp schools and reverse the 20 percent tax applied to income generated by the six Agricultural College farms.
“This is Labor’s chance to show they care about education in regional WA,” he said.
“A small portion of this new money can be spent protecting Moora College, Geraldton Camp School and income generated at Morawa and Cunderdin Agricultural Colleges.
“The Moora and wider community have made it very clear that closing Moora College is not negotiable; it is a vital option for students in the Mid West,” Mr Love said.
“As we strive to build resilience in children and struggle with childhood obesity, the camp schools remain a valuable state asset that should not be shut down and given the importance of agriculture to the state economy, the agriculture college farms should be supported not compromised.”
The Nationals Deputy Leader Jacqui 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 annual revenue the Government expected to receive from its $98 million gold royalty cash grab,” Ms Boydell said.
“There really isn’t any excuse now to punish those who are educated in the regions. It’s a chance for the Premier, the Treasurer and the Education Minister to prove they don’t take Moore for granted and are not purposely robbing the bush to fund Perth projects.”
Nationals education spokesman Peter Rundle said $5 million would ensure Moora College and the six camp schools survive and the Agricultural Colleges remain relevant and can reinvest for future generations.
“This is not a large sum of money and with the unexpected revenue from the GST increase the Labor Government can comfortably redirect some funding to regional communities,” 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.”