Federal Labor will continue to make up for Western Australia’s low GST share, promising to pump extra cash into the state.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten pledged an additional $400 million on Wednesday if he is elected, topping up the $1.6 billion Fair Share for WA Fund announced last year in an effort to raise WA’s share to 70 cents in the dollar “floor”, as long as he had a say in it.
“I’m not going to be around forever, but for as long as I am, yes,” Mr Shorten said.
Mr Shorten said updated relativities had changed and additional cash was needed to maintain the floor.
“If the relativities stay out of whack, we are committing to 70 cents,” he said.
“We are setting a precedent. We are changing the rules of the game.”
The $400 million boost will give WA a $2 billion fund.
It comes in addition to $3.2 billion announced by the Federal Government as part of the 2018-19 Federal Budget.
However, the federal government’s funding package for the state will be instituted over time from next financial year to 2024-25.
Premier Mark McGowan said WA welcomed the announcement.
“Today’s announcement by Bill Shorten and Federal Labor is another victory for WA,” Mr McGowan said.
“This guarantees our share of the GST at a minimum of 70 cents and provides Western Australians with a total of $2 billion in compensation funding.”
“My Government has been committed to get WA its fair share and we have worked in collaboration with both the Federal Government and Federal Opposition, independently, to get the best outcome for WA.”
Mr McGowan said the fight for a fairer GST share was still not over and he called for Productivity Commission to release its report.
“While the fight for long-term changes to the GST formula does not end here, it’s time the Federal Government releases the Productivity Commission report and deliver the GST reform they have been talking about,” he said.
“WA deserves its fair share. We have followed the process set out by the Federal Government and now we expect to see the report released and acted on.”