Nahan takes GST fight to Canberra
Capital idea: Treasurer Mike Nahan. Picture: Ian Munro/The West Australian

Treasurer Mike Nahan will travel to Canberra to make the case for a fairer goods and services tax distribution directly to Federal MPs and senators.

In a sign WA Federal Liberals are starting to put the issue on the agenda, WA Senator Dean Smith has invited Dr Nahan to address a meeting of "interested Federal members", which Senator Smith will convene.

Liberals hold 12 of 15 Lower House seats and six of 12 Senate spots in WA, but The West Australian understands none has raised the issue at partyroom meetings since the coalition won power last September.

WA Liberals also have considerable presence in Prime Minister Tony Abbott's team, with Julie Bishop, David Johnston and Mathias Cormann in Cabinet and Michael Keenan and Michaelia Cash in the outer ministry.

Premier Colin Barnett heaped pressure on the cohort by accusing them of providing "no Federal leadership" on the vexed GST issue during a live chat with thewest.com.au last week.

It comes after a remark to the website in June, when he said: "I think they could do more. They should be more outspoken."

After that barb, Senator Smith wrote to Mr Barnett and Dr Nahan affirming the need for reform and declaring "the time for words has passed".

"I believe the complexity of this issue demands a unified approach by WA Liberals, both State and Federal," he wrote.

"The WA Liberal Party's representation in both the party room and around the Cabinet table is at an historic high. We must not let the unique and timely opportunity this represents pass us by."

Senator Johnston, the Defence Minister, raised hopes that Cabinet might be starting to take the issue seriously when he described WA's GST share as a "scandal" at the Liberals' State conference this month. But Treasurer Joe Hockey refused to back his colleague's remark during a visit to Perth last week, saying only that increasing WA's share was "a matter for discussion".

Dr Nahan said yesterday he would accept Senator Smith's invitation.

Senator Smith said he planned to raise WA's GST share at a partyroom meeting next month.

WA's share of GST revenue will fall to 38¢ in the dollar this year and based on current projections could fall to 11¢ in the dollar by 2017-18.

The West Australian

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