The West Australian Premier Mark McGowan has welcomed moves by four of Australia’s most powerful business figures to push for a better GST deal for the state.
FMG chairman Andrew Forrest, Wesfarmers chairman Michael Chaney, investor John Poynton and land developer Nigel Satterley are seeking to meet Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to discuss the issue.
Mr McGowan said he was pleased to hear of the plan.
“I give them every encouragement and every support in what they’re doing,” he said.
“Ben Wyatt and the Treasury itself will give a full briefing to those gentlemen before they go and I’m more than happy for that to happen,” Mr McGowan said.
WA was recently told its GST share would fall to 34 cents in the dollar, at a time when the state is experiencing its worst financial situation in decades.
Mr McGowan said while he was happy for the four businessmen to speak to the Labor Opposition, the focus should be on the Government.
Nigel Satterley is one of the business leaders seeking to meet with Malcolm Turnbull. (ABC News: Michaela Carr)
“The decision-making capacity is in the hand of the Prime Minister. That’s the person who can make the decision,” he said.
“And I just say to all federal parliamentarians, whoever is in government at a federal level is going to have to deal with this at some point in time because whoever the government is nationally is going to be punished for the existing situation.
“I’d say to Mr Turnbull, you’re in big trouble in Western Australia, you need to deal with this issue as soon as possible in your own interest as well as in the national interest.”
Liquor reforms on the horizon
The Premier made the comments about the GST after announcing a new round of liquor reforms would be introduced later this year, with a focus on supporting innovative businesses.
Mr McGowan was speaking at a distillery in East Perth, which can now sell its whiskey with a mixer drink following a decision by the Director of Liquor Licensing.
The business’s application to amend its licence had been held up over a lack of clarity about the rules, which meant tasters and buyers had to drink the spirit straight.
The Tourism Minister Paul Papalia said the decision was line with the Government’s fresh approach.
“I was sworn in [and] that week we met with the agency. We told them about this very site, the problems they were having, we asked what they could do about it, and they said they could fix it immediately,” he said.
Mr Papalia said legislation would be introduced to make it easier for sophisticated venues to get liquor licenses.
“We’ve been working with the peak bodies of the hospitality industry in tourism for some time.
“There are a range of reforms that we will be making, we’re working with the agency, we’ve got them working on the legislation right now.”