Nats fight on for new revenue source

Tom Zaunmayr and Pablo MillerPilbara News
VideoMia Davies radio interview in Karratha

WA Nationals leader Mia Davies has reaffirmed her party’s commitment to increasing the special lease rental on BHP and Rio Tinto as parliament resumes following Labor’s landslide election win.

Speaking on Spirit 1260 Karratha, Ms Davies said the Pilbara had not seen the last of the Nationals Party, despite losing its figurehead in former local member Brendon Grylls.

“Certainly the party was united in what Brendon was promoting and of course as the local member had been a very strong voice,” she said.

“The Nationals Party absolutely still thinks there’s a reason to sit down with BHP and Rio Tinto and talk to them about why there is a charge in their 1960’s State Agreement that hasn’t increased.

“I think that will become more and more important as you see this new government increase fees and charges.”

In parliament on Wednesday WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt said the Nationals’ plan amounted to little more than taxing as a form of revenge.

“I get the National Party position on their policy but we don’t get I think in government to make tax policy as some sort of revenge on companies we have particular problems with,” he said

“(North West Central MLA Vince Catania) said we have to send a clear message to Rio Tinto and BHP.

“That is not the way we tax and it should not be the way we implement taxation policy in this state or, I would like to think, in Australia.”

Mr Catania said a new revenue sources was needed because the GST problem could not be fixed.

“We have to send a clear message, a clear message to the companies of Rio and BHP and we have to send a clear message to the federal parties, both Labor and Liberal,” he said.

“We had this conversation in Broken Hill, New South Wales, in the last few days when we met with our federal National Party colleagues, trying to persuade a way that Federal Government can support our plan to fix the state’s budget.

“A new revenue source quarantined from GST gives us the amount of money we need to operate as a community and government so that services are not cut.”

The $5-per-tonne levy proposal on Rio Tinto and BHP iron ore exports attracted heavy opposition from the mining industry in the lead up to the election, with some claiming the Chamber of Minerals and Energy WA advertising campaign cost former leader Brendon Grylls the Pilbara seat.

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