Conversations at Parliament House: Grylls believes WA is left mopping up the afterbirth

Written on the 16 November 2016 by Jael Napper

$8billion debt of Western Power is among the economic hangovers of WA's mining birth.  Or so says Nationals leader Brendon Grylls who passionately believes the state has been duped of revenue from GST and outdated contracts with big mining companies.

Slapping the table of the desk Grylls says he's "DAMN PROUD" of the $7billion recently invested in the state's development via Royalties for Regions, $10million of this recently allocated to Broome for the revitalisation of Chinatown.

But now Grylls says it's time for Broome to be less focused on lights and sporting facilities and more so on larger economically driven infrastructure which he says will be paid by the proposed special lease rental rate to BHP and Rio Tinto of $5 per tonne.

"It's fair for policy-makers to question existing structures," He says. 

He explains that Sir Charles Court negotiated the current special lease rental agreement in the 60's which charges 25c per tonne with no end date, and thus it has never been upgraded in 50 years.

"They have a profit margin of $40billion and we're arguing over $3b to the state?!" Argues Grylls.  

"I'm getting blasted and slagged off as some sort of lunatic.  I'll take that on the chin.

"BHP and Rio Tinto will not walk away from the best iron ore deposits in the world," he reassures.

Our meeting comes a day after Grylls was in the firing line of CCIWA's CEO over this proposed increase, ironically to him following the CCIWA's lobby to government over payroll tax reforms.

"We've found a sensible way to fund that proposal.  Land tax and stamp duty increases wont raise sufficient funds for payroll tax reform."

For Grylls, payroll has been on his agenda for 15 years with average wages in WA highest in the nation and crippling to small business. 

"What power does government have in that space?  It has to come up with a new revenue source to fill the void of payroll tax but in doing so would attract new business to start up."

Grylls also takes a moment to take a swipe at the Federal Government's distribution of GST income.

"Pokies revenue from Eastern States is worth $16billion, yet exempt from being calculated in source revenue," He explains, a fact I wasn't aware of in the past. 

According to Grylls this money has been used to build new club houses and facilities in the East, yet they're still putting their hand out to receive $12billion of GST from WA.

"Our status quo is a fragile economy, debts pushing toward $40billion affecting our ability to drive capital works and no flexibility to drive innovation or change. 

"The notion of coming out of a downturn with fingers crossed never worked anywhere else."


Author: Jael Napper

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