Ben Wyatt has pushed for the Federal Government’s GST legislation to be passed “nonetheless”, despite concerns from other states about a guarantee that they will not be worse off if it is passed.
The WA Treasurer said the federal government’s GST plan “was good” and wanted it to be passed, but he understood why other states and territories wanted to “move a guarantee into the legislation.”
State treasurers have called for a “no State left behind” clause into the legislation that would lock in a 75 cent GST floor and $9 billion in extra cash over the next decade.
However, despite any amendments, Mr Wyatt said it needs to be passed.
“Should the parliament not accept an amendment to the legislation, it should pass nonetheless,” Mr Wyatt said.
“You have two things at play, one, legislation that every treasurer in the nation assurity of a floor, it not just applies to WA, but assurity of a floor which removes the volatility or potential volatility for every treasurer.”
“Secondly, you already have a guarantee provided by the commonwealth where they’ll fund the transition to the tune of $9 billion.”
He said the $9 billion in extra cash over the next decade covered a range of probabilities of scenarios other state and territory governments were concerned about over the transition period of the GST.
Mr Wyatt said he expressed to the federal Labor party that the legislation should be supported “as is” but also supported amendments.
Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has refused the guarantee, which will result in negotiations over the proposals.
The issue has caused tension between Federal and State Labor party members, with pressure on Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and shadow treasurer to support the GST plan, even if it does not include the clause.
Mr Bowen said he will urge the party to push for the clause, but will not insist on it if it is not included in the final legislation.
“(It) will reflect the fact that we want the floor legislated,” Mr Bowen said.
Meanwhile, Opposition leader Mike Nahan said Bill Shorten has been the “biggest threat of reform to GST”.
He said Mr McGowan “either will not or cannot persuade Bill Shorten to support reform,” stating he was calling on WA Labor Senators Patrick Dodson, Sue Lines, Louise Pratt and Glenn Sterle to “do the right thing by WA”.
In a letter he wrote to the senators, he said he sought “an assurance from you that, as Labor’s West Australian Senate representatives, you will not block the progress of the Federal Government’s GST reforms.”
He urged them to support the Federal Government’s reform, stating WA was not interested in more politics surrounding the GST.
“Should your Federal Leader instruct you to block these reforms in the Senate, I urge you to cross the floor and support the passage of the reform legislation,” Mr Nahan said.
“Your State is counting on you.”