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Labor should back GST repair: McGinn

Kalgoorlie-Boulder’s State Labor MP wants his Federal party colleagues to back Liberal Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s plan to legislate a GST redistribution floor for all States.

State Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region Kyle McGinn yesterday said he supported the call from his WA Labor leader, Premier Mark McGowan, urging Federal Labor MPs to back Mr Morrison’s legislation when it is introduced into Federal Parliament this month.

Mr Morrison’s plan to change the GST redistribution system, officially known as horizontal fiscal equalisation, would give WA an extra $4.7 billion across the next eight years.

Mr McGinn said he believed the Federal Government had taken too long to get a plan through Parliament.

“WA has been ripped off for too long and it’s time to support GST reform,” he said.

“Despite the reasons it’s taken so long to agree on reform, let’s just get it done so we can finally get to a floor of 75¢ in the dollar.

“We have been short-changed far too long.”

Federal Labor’s support would ensure the passage of the legislation through Parliament, because the Morrison Government has no majority in the House of Representatives and Senate in Canberra.

In a video on his Facebook page, Labor’s Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen said his party had long supported the idea of legislating a GST floor.

“Of course we want to see this legislation pass, and that will be reflected in my recommendation to the Labor caucus,” he said.

“But we also want to see a guarantee for the people of Tasmania, NSW and every other State and Territory, that they won’t be worse off, and of course that will also be reflected in the approach that I recommend to the Labor Party.”

At a Council on Federal Financial Relations meeting yesterday, State and territory treasurers — excluding WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt — demanded the legislation guarantee no State or territory would be worse off.

Mr Wyatt said he understood the position of the other States, but did not believe the “no worse off” guarantee must be delivered through law.

“It can be by way of other agreements, and I actually think the proposal from the Commonwealth Government does provide that guarantee,” Mr Wyatt said.

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said amending the proposed legislation would create “parallel systems”.

“We don’t want to run a separate set of books,” he said.

“We want to run a new system which will be bedded down in legislation.”

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