A terrible legacy

Tuesday 28 Oct 2014

In trying to explain the $30 billion in debt he has run up since coming to office, Colin Barnett likes to blame Canberra for our declining share of the GST distribution.

And, according to the Premier, because of the debt, he has no choice but to privatise public assets.

The problem with the Premier’s argument about the GST is that it isn’t supported by the facts.

Check out this video from the Unions WA Save Our Services campaign, which provides the full story about the State Budget.

Yes, it is true that Western Australia’s share of the GST distribution has become smaller over the last few times. This is in response to the massive increase in mining royalties, which have grown by a much greater amount.

In fact, when you look at the full story, State Government revenue has grown by 26 per cent over the last five years – and that’s in real terms, after you take into consideration the impact of inflation.

Over the same time, WA’s population has increased by 19 per cent, so Colin Barnett and Mike Nahan have more revenue per head of population now, than Alan Carpenter and Eric Ripper had at the end of the previous government.

It all comes down to how they choose to spend the money. People have different views about some of the projects Mr Barnett is building.

However, what most of us agree on is that public assets shouldn’t be privatised to pay for Mr Barnett’s personal priorities.

Privatising Western Australia’s electricity system will result in higher prices and poorer services, as well as fewer jobs and apprenticeships. This would be a terrible lasting legacy of Mr Barnett’s time in office to leave for future generations.