Premier Colin Barnett has threatened to cut off funding to the federal Liberal party for the forthcoming election campaign unless he gets a promise on GST reform.
As the State election battle in the west kicked off in earnest, Mr Barnett seemed intent on picking a fight with both Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott over the contentious GST reform review program.
Treasury secretary Martin Parkinson reportedly told the states and territories that there will be no substantive reforms to the system, which infuriated WA, Victoria and NSW who had wanted an overhaul so payments are calculated on a per capita basis.
With WA claiming the boom State will receive 35 cents for each GST dollar collected in the west in 2015-16, Mr Barnett said without a promise from Mr Abbott, there could be consequences for the federal campaign.
“That will be a critical issue in a federal campaign. The last election, there was massive funding from WA toward the national Liberal campaign - that will be reliant on a commitment on GST,” Mr Barnett said.
“The support the federal Liberals (get) from WA will depend on the GST issue.
“That is the number one issue for the federal campaign and he (Mr Abbott) knows my view very, very well.”
Mr Barnett, using a well-worn tactic of standing up to Canberra as his own election credentials were being scrutinised, fired several shots at the Prime Minister, accusing her of ignoring and dismissing WA.
“Julia Gillard makes speeches about reform in Australia, here was one of the most obvious and important economic reforms for the future of Australia,” Mr Barnett said today.
“Labor has ignored WA and the approach coming from Labor is to rob this State to fund other States.“We have not got the result ... the consequence of it is that the Australian economy will not grow as quickly as it could.”