Politics Opinion: Expert views on Federal Budget 2018

May 9, 2018

Federal Budget 2018: is the GST boost a visit from Santa or Scrooge?

Dr Ian Cook, Senior Lecturer in Australian Politics, shares his analysis of  Federal Budget 2018 in The Conversation:

Today the budget confirmed that the West Australian government would get another A$2.8 billion to spend on transport infrastructure, and A$189 million to spend on hospitals. Low- to middle-income earners in WA, like everyone else in the country, can now expect around A$500 back by way of an increased tax rebate. West Australians were told last week that they would get around A$1 billion more through a revised GST carve-up.

The crucial question now is whether Western Australians will see the federal government’s budget and the GST boost as a visit from Santa or Scrooge.

They had been wondering where the money would come from to pay for infrastructure projects, especially Perth’s Metronet, promised by State Labor during the last election campaign. Now they know. Well, most of it. A couple of billion dollars more will be needed to fund the projects.

Western Australians were expecting 45 cents back for every dollar in GST raised in the state (up from 34c) and they were told they would in fact get 47c. But Victorians will get A$1.8 billion more in funding, and 98c in the dollar back from their GST.

Many people in the West will be wondering whether another A$10 a week in their pocket is all that much, especially given Perth’s notorious coffee prices.

In a pre-election budget, and in a state in which the Liberal vote is falling, the Santa or Scrooge question is important – and the answer is still not really clear.

Read more of the State by State analysis here.

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