Top-ups welcome but do not help the nation

Another day, another short-term GST fix – it’s time the GST is fixed in the national interest.

Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA (CCI) Chief Economist Rick Newnham said while CCI welcomes Federal Labor’s commitment to inject an extra $400 million into WA as a de facto 70 cent GST floor, we have long said that short-term top-ups will no longer cut it.

“West Australians aren’t looking for a short-term handout, they are looking for a long-term solution which is in the national interest,” Mr Newnham said.

“90 per cent of WA’s iron ore royalties have been sent to the east coast thanks to the broken GST distribution – this is a clear disincentive to economic growth. Meanwhile the Queensland Government have just added $1 billion worth of additional public servants to the bureaucracy who will be paid for with WA’s GST.

“Under the current GST formula there is no accountability, no incentive for states to grow their own economy and no reward for running an efficient state government.

“The Productivity Commission made it clear that without a change to the GST formula the national economy will suffer, holding back business investment and job creation for decades to come.

“CCI welcomes Federal Labor’s commitment to considering the Productivity Commission report on GST reform – if it recommends a change to the formula in the national interest then Bill Shorten must commit to act on that, and so must Malcolm Turnbull.

“Most Australians support a change to the GST distribution if it is in the national interest.

“Recent national polling of 2,350 Australians, commissioned by CCI, revealed that 70 per cent of Australians believe that WA’s GST share fell to an unacceptable level – below 35 cents – and most Australians (52%) believe that if it is in the national interest to change the GST distribution it should be changed.

“We will continue to work closely with the Federal and State Governments and industry to fix the GST once and for all.”

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