Push for GST reform amps up

20 October, 2017

WA business and political leaders are joining forces to fight for a GST fix that promotes economic growth.

Premier Mark McGowan, Fortescue Metals Group Non Executive Chairman and Chair of Minderoo Foundation Andrew Forrest AO, Social Services Minister Christian Porter and CCI Chief Economist Rick Newnham will be guest speakers at the CCI Join the fight to fix the GST event on October 31.

The campaign for Team WA ramped up this month when the Productivity Commission released its draft report, which backed CCI’s submission calling for partial equalisation to promote economic growth.

McGowan said last week at a CCI breakfast that support from other state premiers for reform could not be relied on and change had to come from the Commonwealth.

“We get 34 cents for every dollar we put in. If it was NSW or Victoria getting 34 cents for every dollar they put in, it would be a revolution. The country would be in revolt,” he said.

“If it was Queensland, they would be setting the place on fire.”

He said the NSW premier believed its 88 cents in the dollar share was an “outrage” and would support the call for reform.

“Victoria is a bit more on the fence. If you talk to Tasmania, South Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland, there’s not one iota of gratitude about what has occurred in terms of the GST system. Therefore, we can’t rely on them,” McGowan said.

“The idea that somehow all of the states could get together and all be rosy is rubbish. The only way that we will fix the GST by any description is by the Commonwealth.

“The Productivity Commission inquiry was actually stark with what it had to say; it was pretty clear that it’s been unfair on WA and it was pretty clear on the reasons why. It had some pretty good ways forward.

“Whilst politics is politics and it’s always difficult to manage things, there are ways the Commonwealth can deal with that and assist WA and I very much hope they do.”

CCI’s submission to the Productivity Commission was also backed by the Business Council of Australia and Minerals Council of Australia, as well as several state industry associations, representing more than 18,000 businesses.

WA business leaders including Forrest, Wesfarmers Chairman Michael Chaney, investment banker John Poynton and Satterley property group’s Chief Executive Officer Nigel Satterley also backed CCI’s proposal.

Public hearings will be held by the Commission in Perth on November 13 and 14 and a final report will be released in January.

► The GST distribution is broken and needs to be fixed. Join Team WA to fight for GST reform at CCI’s breakfast forum on 31 October 2017. Get your tickets here.