‘We will advocate for WA’: WA Treasurer

WA Treasurer Rita Saffioti has vowed to continue to “advocate and lobby” Canberra on behalf of WA in response to IR reforms and other regulatory hurdles that are hurting WA businesses.

WA Treasurer Rita Saffioti and CCIWA Chief Economist Aaron Morey.

Speaking at a CCIWA business breakfast this morning, the Deputy Premier said WA had “a very sophisticated business community” that had “navigated a number of challenges over many, many years”.

“We’ve got the balance right and we’ll continue to make sure … we have a balanced economy, whether it be creating those great jobs, understanding the environmental considerations and other considerations we have across society,” she said.

The remainder of the Federal Government’s controversial Closing Loopholes Bill, including “intractable bargaining” provisions and changes to casual employment, was passed by Federal Parliament last week.

The laws have been roundly condemned by employers and business groups, including CCIWA, which have warned of an adverse impact on productivity and jobs.

The WA Treasurer said the State Government will continue to point out WA’s contribution to the Federal Budget and its importance to the national economy.

In a wide-ranging speech to a sold-out crowd at Crown Towers, she also dismissed any suggestions from east coast commentators that WA’s GST share was under threat.

“I don’t think any government will (change the distribution),” she said. “To be honest, politically it would just not work. They would basically, I think, lose every seat in Western Australia, so there’s just no way.”

New committee to drive tourism investment

The Treasurer announced the Government would be establishing a new Tourism Investment Committee of Cabinet to drive further tourism infrastructure investment in WA.

The sub-committee will aim to streamline decision making, speed up approvals and drive new investment opportunities and pathways.

“This may mean a small proposal in a regional town. It may mean a major development in the city,” she said. “It’s about how, as a Government, we can do more to support tourism investment.”

In other highlights, the Treasurer’s speech touched on her support for a revamped Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre and promised to continue efforts around regulatory reform to reduce red tape and costs for businesses.

She also discussed the Government’s commitment to attract more private investment in electricity generation as part of the State’s energy transition. However, asked by CCIWA Chief Economist Aaron Morey about WA’s payroll tax burden, she would not say if payroll tax reform would feature in the upcoming State Budget in May.

WA ‘in the box seat’

CCIWA President Nicki Ivory.

CCIWA President Nicki Ivory said Western Australia was “in the box seat” to harness the opportunities that will come in the near future.

“We’re closer to Asia than we are to Canberra; in the same time zone as Beijing, Hong Kong and Singapore,” she said.

“We have a highly skilled and agile workforce, well equipped to pivot to emerging industries, including those that will drive the global clean energy transition. And of course, we’re rich in the mineral resources that will power that transition.”

“The conditions need to be right to make sure WA can compete on a global scale, particularly when it comes to developing other opportunities in defense, space, agriculture and technology,” she said.

 

Register now for our free webinar on the IR changes on February 20.

Need advice on the latest IR law reforms? Our Employee Relations Advice Centre is also available to respond to your questions on (08) 9365 7660, or via [email protected].

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