The West

ERA report calls for Govt to wield axe
ERA report calls for Govt to wield axe

Royalties for Regions should be abolished, retail trading hours restrictions should be axed and the taxi industry should be deregulated under the recommendations of a landmark report into WA's economy.

The Economic Regulation Authority's inquiry into microeconomic reform also advocates for sweeping reforms of the State's taxation system, widespread reduction of State Government red tape and much more rigorous analysis of infrastructure spending decisions before governments commit to projects in the Budget.

The ERA says the Potato Marketing board should be axed, as should Keystart, the Government's low interest housing loan scheme, and the domestic gas reservation policy, which sets a mandated 15 per cent of LNG production from new projects for the local WA market.

It calls for a trial of congestion charging on Perth's roads, and advocates the sale of government enterprises including Western Power, Synergy, the Water Corporation and Fremantle Ports.

The ERA estimates the benefits of the reforms could be worth nearly $600 million a year, or $234 for every WA resident.

Many of the 350-page draft report's recommendations will be politically contentious, including its call to scrap or at least radically overhaul Royalties for Regions, which it says has distorted the State Budget and contributed to the loss of the AAA credit rating.

"It is increasingly apparent that we cannot rely upon continuing strong economic growth from our natural wealth to raise our living standards," ERA chairman Lyndon Rowe said.

"Therefore productivity will have to come from reforms that address hidden waste in our economy and remove unnecessary burdens on business and consumers."

The ERA's inquiry was ordered last year by former treasurer Troy Buswell.

The West Australian

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