Treasurer Mike Nahan said today Western Australia might get an extra $660 million from Canberra to make up for the shortfall in GST grants but conceded the amount, timing and use of the funds, were all yet to be decided.
Treasurer Mike Nahan said today Western Australia might get an extra $660 million from Canberra to make up for the shortfall in GST grants but conceded the amount, timing, and use of the funds were all yet to be decided.
He insisted the basis of a deal was in place, after Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said earlier today that nothing had been finalised.
Dr Nahan’s qualifying comments follow weekend press reports indicating that WA and Canberra had agreed on a deal for $600 million of extra funding.
“As I said yesterday, there are still some issues about how the money is spent, we still have to negotiate that,” Dr Nahan said this morning.
“And there are still some issues about the magnitude, and whether it’s over two years or one year, and the absolute magnitude, but the basis of the deal is there.”
He said $660 million would be equivalent to WA maintaining its share of GST grants at 37.6 per cent over two years.
“That’s the basis of the discussion,” Dr Nahan said.
“There might be some variations but that’s generally what we’re working at.”
The proposed grant follows Friday’s Council of Australian Government meeting, at which Premier Colin Barnett fought for WA to retain a greater share of GST payments collected in WA.
The Commonwealth Grants Commission has recommended that WA’s share should drop to below 30 per cent next year.
The premiers of all other states and the territories, which benefit from the proposed GST carve-up, said the recommended allocation should be maintained.
Dr Nahan said the Commonwealth already funded a range of road transport projects in WA but would not be drawn on which projects might benefit from the extra funding.
“I haven’t had discussions yet with Mathias (Cormann) or Joe Hockey as to which ones they would want to participate in,” he said.
Dr Nahan said the state government would still need to cut back its capital works spending.