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WA's 'Lone Ranger' exposes Government's failure on GST

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WA’s ‘Lone Ranger’ exposes Government’s failure on GST

The failure of successive Federal Governments to act on WA’s GST rip-off has been laid bare by WA’s Premier just a week after the issue prompted the state’s Treasurer to endorse the re-election of WA’s only Federal Parliamentarian independent of the major parties, Senator Zhenya Dio Wang.

“In extraordinary comments in the WA Parliament yesterday, the WA Liberal Premier effectively accused the Liberal Prime Minister of lying in blaming the states for WA’s GST rip-off, when in fact it’s clearly within the Federal Treasurer’s power to instruct the Commonwealth Grants Commission how to calculate the carve-up of the GST amongst states and territories,” said Senator Wang.

“The Premier was scathing of his Federal counterparts’ ‘lack of intellect’ in addressing ‘the most significant fiscal issue in the Australian Federation’ and cited ‘dozens of occasions’ where the Federal Treasurer had intervened to ‘change the rules’ for the Grants Commission’s GST distribution calculations.

“Legislation I introduced also shows the Federal Parliament can make simple changes to laws to make the GST distribution fairer. So claims that ‘all states must first agree’ is nothing but an excuse for inaction.

“There are 27 Federal politicians in WA, but it was left me as the state’s non-major party ‘Lone Ranger’ to introduce laws that would have delivered WA an extra $6.5 billion in the past two years… had the Federal Government supported my GST Bill instead of running for cover in an early double-dissolution election.”

Senator Wang said it beggared belief that the WA’s record four Federal Cabinet Ministers had failed to secure billions of GST dollars owed to Western Australians, after three years of their party in power.

“Four times during my two years in Canberra, I have stood to my feet in Question Time to ask the Finance Minister why our home state’s so-called ‘voices at the table’ have failed their fellow Western Australians,” he said. “But instead of a straight answer, they treat Western Australians with contempt by asking us to be grateful for being given back less than $1 billion in GST compensation for the $6.5 billion they’ve cost us.

“Given the immediate and long-term impacts of this costly failure to our state, it’s no wonder the WA Treasurer told a budget breakfast he hopes I’m re-elected due to my ferocious focus on getting back our state’s fair share of GST. And that’s exactly why this Federal Government has moved to rid the Australian Senate of independent voices like mine - because I have the freedom to vote in the best interests of my state, rather than being forced to toe the line of the major party machines.”

Senator Wang said that after carrying this nation on the back of the mining boom, Western Australians had copped sharp inflationary increases to their day-to-day living costs and were now the highest-taxed Australians per capita. “We don’t need special treatment on the GST - just fair treatment,” he said.