Western Australia has been short-changed by $4 billion in the latest carve-up of GST revenue, says Treasurer Mike Nahan.
WA’s share of the $60.7 billion GST pool was increased from 3.3 per cent to 3.4 per cent, or up by $148 million to $2.04 billion.
NSW will get $17.6 billion.
The WA government complains that it is only getting about 30 cents for every $1 it generates, multiple times below most of the other states.
“Despite having a multi-billion dollar deficit, we have seen over $4 billion in GST revenue taken from this state and given to the other states all who are in surplus,” he told ABC radio.
“It comes down to base electoral politics … there are more seats swinging in South Australia and Tasmania than Western Australia.
“The West Australian government has seen the largest collapse in revenue of any state or any government in Australia since the Great Depression in the 1930s … I expected something better.”
However the collapse in iron ore, oil and gas prices that has hit resource-rich WA was also justified by the commission for the state’s modest take.
“While falls in commodity prices, particularly for iron ore, have reduced its capacity to raise mining royalties and increased its GST share, this has been more than offset by a fall in its share of national population growth, reducing its need to invest in new infrastructure,” it said.
The WA government had asked for North West Shelf oil and gas money to be shielded for it, providing a $4 billion improvement over the next few years.
WA opposition treasury spokesman Ben Wyatt said the Liberal state government had been complaining but it was understandable the federal government didn’t want to “bail out” WA after a period of high spending.
“It’s finally time for the Barnett government to understand they are responsible for the finances.
“For eight years, the Barnett government has spent money that they wished they had, not the money that they actually had – that’s why we have record debt, that’s why we have record deficit.”