Porter passes buck on GST

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SENIOR WA Minister Christian Porter has passed the buck on responsibility for WA’s woeful GST share, claiming the Commonwealth Grants Commission can’t be overruled despite the bureaucrats themselves insisting politicians called the shots.

Mr Porter slammed as “ridiculous” evidence by the CGC to Senate estimates last week that its allocation of 34c in the dollar to WA this year was fair.

But he denied the Federal Government bore ultimate responsibility for the outcome.

Last year CGC chairman Greg Smith said it made recommendations to the Commonwealth Treasurer on how to divide GST revenue among the states, but “the Treasurer is responsible for determining each State’s share”.

The statement is also repeated word for word on the CGC’s website.

But Mr Porter, the Social Services Minister and MHR for Pearce, claimed that was “not an accurate assessment of what goes on”.

“The chairman may say that but that is a complete cop out on the chairman running a fair and reasonable process,” he said.

“What the Treasurer can do is write letters each year that set out terms of reference for matters that can be investigated by the CGC, but the Treasurer ultimately must take the recommendation of the grants commission, and that has always been the interpretation of the intergovernmental agreement that we as a state and every other state signed.”

Mr Porter made the remarks after officially opening the $1 billion Northlink WA road project linking Morley and Muchea.

The project is estimated to create 1000 construction jobs and take 80 per cent of heavy vehicles off Great Northern Highway.

It is to be funded via an 80-20 split between the Commonwealth and State Governments and be completed by mid-2019.

State Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said it would be Main Roads’ biggest ever project.

“It’s a big project and one that’s going to deliver enormous benefit in relation to congestion savings,” she said.



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