Business and political forces team up to fight for GST reform

31 October, 2017

More than 200 people from WA business and all sides of the political spectrum today joined forces to call for GST reform at the WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Join the fight to fix the GST breakfast.

CCI was pleased to welcome WA Premier Mark McGowan MLA, federal Minister for Social Services Christian Porter MP, representing Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison MP, and Fortescue Metals Group Non-Executive Chairman and Chair of Minderoo Foundation Andrew Forrest AO, as guest speakers.

CCI Chief Economist Rick Newnham said today’s breakfast was a call to arms for all West Australians.

“No matter what industry they come from, or what their political persuasion is, today was about coming together as Team WA to say enough is enough – now is the time to fix the broken GST,” Mr Newnham said.

“WA now accounts for more than 40 per cent of merchandise exports from Australia yet our state’s GST share has fallen to 4 per cent of the GST pie. This is a stark lesson to other states – develop your economy and you will be punished with less GST.  

“Reforming the GST is not about poor WA – that argument will not convince a nation.

“We have never been closer to fixing the broken GST formula than we are today because this is about the national interest; the current GST system is holding the national economy back.”

CCI is proud to be the only organisation to propose changing the GST calculation to partial equalisation to the national average, which has now been recommended by the Productivity Commission’s draft report.

“CCI’s proposal was built on three key principles – to be fair for all states, pro-growth, and durable – whatever we design must last,” Mr Newnham said.

“This would have returned an additional $3.5 billion to WA in additional GST in the last year alone. That is enough to almost double the number of teachers in WA public schools, provide private health insurance for every West Australian, or eliminate payroll tax in WA altogether.

“Today’s, CCI-hosted breakfast has shown that the West Australian community, business and politicians are on a unity ticket for GST reform. But if we want to fix the GST system once and for all, we must continue to convince the nation that reform is in their best interest as well.

“CCI believes that the Federal Government can immediately implement the Productivity Commission’s recommendations without blowing out its own budget, or the budget of any state government. This will be outlined in CCI’s transition proposal to the Productivity Commission which will soon be submitted.

“CCI looks forward to continuing to work with business and all sides of politics, federal and state, as part of Team WA to achieve GST reform for WA and all Australians.”