Response to State Budget
Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson MP says that Mark McGowan has betrayed the Goldfields with his first Budget, breaking what could only be described as a promise to the region.
Mr Wilson said the State Government’s move to increase gold royalties was an appalling about-face, given Mr McGowan personally said in 2015 that the Labor Party, if elected, would not impose additional taxes on the industry.
“Mark McGowan has lied through his teeth to the gold industry and every family that relies on its prosperity for their livelihoods,” he said.
“His exact words two years ago were ‘it’s a waste of time’, ‘it impacts employment and jobs and the health of the industry for limited benefit’ and ‘we’re not going to do it’.
“I can’t believe that at a time when we’ve only recently started to see things turn around in the Goldfields, the epicentre of our gold industry in WA, that the McGowan Government would introduce a new tax that will hurt the industry.
“Dropping the royalty exemption for small miners is just bad policy – if anything, we should be looking to lessen the costs for smaller producers because they operate in such a marginal environment.
“Generally, the cost of production per ounce is higher for small producers so it makes little sense to suddenly hit them with a new tax.
“The WA Nationals should have a good, hard look at themselves in the wake of this decision.
“In their desperate election campaign, they started the narrative that it’s acceptable to target one industry and hit them with a new tax because you’re not prepared to cut spending.”
Mr Wilson said the lack of a serious debt reduction plan, most notably the opposition to selling Western Power, meant Labor had left itself no alternative.
“Purely in the interest of playing politics, WA Labor campaigned heavily against selling Western Power and said it would lead to an increase in power prices – a lie that it should have been ashamed to exploit,” he said.
“Now, the consequence of their campaign means they need to increase power prices to cover the costs of the publicly-owned Western Power, and they need another source of revenue.
“The impact on the gold industry is now three-fold – higher royalties, higher power prices, and higher payroll tax.
“I’m calling on the McGowan Government to reverse the decision to increase gold royalties before they destroy they progress we’ve seen in the Goldfields over the last 12 months.”
Media contact: Andrew Brosnan 0488 643 593