MacTiernan and Briggs in infrastructure shooting match

'She says, he says' on Federal WA spending, with Queensland brought into argument

MacTiernan and Briggs in infrastructure shooting match
Alannah MacTiernan looks to infrastructure rather than GST


Political football surrounding the Western Australian tax take has entered the infrastructure space.

The state is presenting a bipartisan front to get more funds from Canberra with the only division apparently being on how.

With the State Government lobbying for more GST returns, federal shadow infrastructure secretary Alannah MacTiernan claims infrastructure spending is better strategy in an intervention that too return fire from assistant infrastructure minister Jamie Briggs.

"[WA premier Colin] Barnett needs to engage in a fight that can be won," MacTiernan says.

"The GST is very hard to change. Getting more infrastructure funds of the Feds is a far easier task. We are being ripped off."

She argues total Commonwealth infrastructure spending 2014-2019 is projected to be $45.3 billion; WA’s share will to be $4.7 billion or 10.37 per cent.

She contrasts the WA experience with Queensland.

WA produces 16.6 per cent of the gross national product and has 11.1 per cent of national population, she says, but Queensland is not only a net beneficiary of the GST but is receiving 29.6 per cent of infrastructure funds, its share of national GNP is 19.1 per cent and it constitutes 20.2 per cent of national population.

"So, Queensland has less than double WA’s population, just 2.5 per cent more in GDP output yet receives almost three times the infrastructure spend," MacTiernan says.

"Two per cent more of Federal infrastructure funds would give Western Australia an additional $900 million."

Now Briggs has moved to undermine that argument saying the state will receive 11.7 per cent of the Federal infrastructure spending for 10.8 per cent of the national population.

"In fact, Western Australia is getting a bigger percentage increase in funding than Queensland when it is compared with former Labor government commitments," he says.

"This increase is 17 per cent for Western Australia when compared with 14.6 per cent for Queensland."

He adds that Federal spending would deliver the Perth Freight Link, "and for the first time [have] the private sector involved in a road project in Western Australia".

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