WA businessman and philanthropist David Flanagan has urged the Federal Government to consider raising the GST, warning that to continue at unsustainable levels of spending and revenue collection would be doing future generations a disservice.
The Atlas Iron chairman and Murdoch University chancellor told the WA Annual Resources Overview in Perth yesterday that Australia would be in "real trouble" in 40 years if current levels of expenditure continued.
When asked what the Commonwealth's priorities should be, Mr Flanagan said if he were in power he would launch a "Bill for a stronger Australia" that would investigate lifting the GST.
"There would be a compensation payment made to people who couldn't afford it, but I would broaden and increase GST," he said.
"I don't think the lifestyle we've come to demand from the Government is fundable under the current tax regime.
"The politics is for all of us to talk about, and to actually not do it is doing all of our children and their children and their grandchildren a disservice, because we'll be leaving them with just too much debt."
Mr Flanagan believed multiple generations needed to be educated that governments existed to support the delivery of needs, not wants, and urged education reform in schools and universities.
The rising cost of doing business in Australia was also discussed at the event that featured business leaders from Alcoa, Woodside, Shell and Toro Energy.
Alcoa chairman Alan Crans- berg warned that Australia was becoming "more and more expensive" and urged the Government to focus on productivity.
Toro Energy managing director Vanessa Guthrie said priorities for Prime Minister Tony Abbott's first term should include removing over-regulation at local, State and Federal government level and reducing trade barriers.
The leaders welcomed news that Mr Abbott and Premier Colin Barnett were working towards a "one-stop-shop" policy for environmental approvals.Mr Flanagan also applauded mining magnate Andrew Forrest's $65 million donation to WA's tertiary sector.