Labor’s candidates for the five WA seats the party wants to win at the next election have defended Bill Shorten’s opposition to changing the GST formula, arguing voters in the State just want to see more money on the table.
Amid a furious debate over whether the Government is prepared to change the GST carve-up to give WA a better deal, the five female candidates preselected by the Opposition all say they are comfortable selling Labor’s $1.6 billion Fair Share for WA Fund as the best remedy for the State’s revenue crisis.
The position consolidates Federal Labor’s campaign strategy for the next election but puts the party at odds with the McGowan Government, which wants the Liberals to use a Productivity Commission inquiry to fix the GST formula for good.
Kim Travers, the candidate for Pearce, said the Government was “not serious” about fixing the GST distribution formula and said the ALP’s policy would give the State the equivalent of a 70¢-in-the-dollar floor.
“I am just flabbergasted that sitting Federal members have not stood up for a fairer share of GST for WA,” she said.
Treasurer Scott Morrison has postponed the final report from the Productivity Commission into the GST system until after State elections in Tasmania and South Australia, prompting Federal Labor to accuse the Government of preparing to rip money out of other States to placate WA.
The draft report recommended changes to deliver a $3 billion annual windfall to WA, resulting in other States losing out.
Hasluck candidate Lauren Palmer said she could not comment on the draft report because she was not familiar with its findings, but she was confident Labor “can deliver a fair share”.
“I am happy with Bill Shorten’s and the Labor Party’s policy on it,” she said. After years of complaints of our GST share, there might be some light at the end of the tunnel.
Already campaigning in Canning, Mellisa Teede said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was missing in action and the Federal Government “could turn this around right now”.
Melita Markey, who is running for Stirling, said she did not believe the party’s resistance to changing the GST distribution formula would be a problem, even if the Government decided to change the carve-up to give WA a better deal.
“That (the $1.6 billion fund) is fantastic from our perspective because that will enable us to deliver the services that we need here in WA,” she said.
Star candidate Hannah Beazley, daughter of former Labor leader Kim Beazley, said the Federal Government was “consistently not delivering” for the State on GST, but she would not be drawn on whether she thought a change to the formula was needed.
“I think WA needs more. I think we deserve a fairer share for WA,” she said.