WA’s finances hit as Libs kill off gold tax

WA’s finances hit as Libs kill off gold tax
The Liberal Party will block the WA government’s controversial tax on gold in the Upper House, leaving the state government with a $400 million hole in Budget.

The government planned to lift the gold royalty rates from 2.5 per cent to 3.75 per cent from January, raising $392 million over four years to help plug the state’s massive debt expected to hit around $43.8 billion by 2020.

The McGowan government, which had been voted in because of the state’s finances, had been counting on Liberal support for the gold tax with the Nationals and cross-benchers opposing it.

But the Liberal party yesterday unanimously voted against the proposed royalties hike with the state Liberal leader Mike Nahan said the planned tax was not about budget repair but to pay for Labor’s $5 billion of election promises.

He said the decision was also made because of concerns about its impact on jobs.

“It was our view that Mr McGowan did not seek or have a mandate to raise the gold royalty rate,” Dr Nahan said.

“It was a tough decision because we take our role very seriously.

“We took [the decision] reluctantly, but jobs, broken promises and failure to meet reductions in debt and deficit trumped the issue.”

The party room meeting came after gold industry representatives staged an angry protest on the steps of Parliament House.

The Treasurer Ben Wyatt attacked the Liberal Party in Question Time, saying they would be responsible if ratings agencies downgraded Western Australia.

“If there’s any credit rating downgrade, Leader of the Opposition, I’ll be coming to you and wrapping that around your neck,” Mr Wyatt said.

“Because you are responsible for any downgrade, your leadership has been found wanting and you are responsible for the mess that we’ve been left.”

 



An award winning author and journalist, commentator, lecturer, and speaker, Leon is a freelance business journalist who covers a range of areas including politics, strategy, globalization, leadership and all the big trends ahead. His main skill is summing up all the news that’s around. For the last 30 years, his main focus has been on management issues. He also produces two podcasts for RMIT University, Talking Business and Talking Technology. Leon has worked for Fairfax, News Limited, AAP and the Herald and Weekly Times.