Richard Court speaks at the AMEC conference at Crown Perth this morning. Picture: Michael O Brien/The West Australian.
Richard Court speaks at the AMEC conference at Crown Perth this morning. Picture: Michael O'Brien/The West Australian.

Former Premier Richard Court has called on the Federal Government to return a greater share of gas and petroleum revenue to the States.

Delivering the Sir Avi Parbo oration at the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies annual conference this morning, Mr Court said a fairer distribution of the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax would be the easiest and most politically palatable way of solving the emerging State Government budget crises.

He rejected the centrepiece of the Abbott Government's Commission of Audit tax recommendations, saying giving the States a share of income tax collections would be great if it could be achieved, but would be "politically difficult".

Markets warm to juniorsFinal Gorgon module arrives

Instead, Mr Court proposed that PRRT royalty streams should be shared 50/50 with the States on a per capita basis.

"When the Gorgon project comes into production, approximately three years after that date the Federal Government gets a big lift in company tax collections, approximately eight years after it comes into production there is a second revenue lift as the company starts paying its PRRT streams once all expenses associated with that project have been taken into account," he said.

"It is this revenue stream that I propose be shared with all the States."

Mr Court said State and Federal governments had spent more than had been earned during the last round of the resources boom, and politicians had lifted public expectations "too high with magnificent nation-building project announcements that have simply been unfunded".

"States must have the appropriate revenue streams to fund the provision of the necessary services like health and education," he said.

"We have this massive fiscal imbalance where the States do not have the growth revenue streams to fund the provision of critical services including health and education, and in a State like WA the infrastructure to match our phenomenal growth."

The West Australian

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