The Federal Budget has once again ignored regional Western Australia.
Regional Development, Goldfields-Esperance and Great Southern Minister John Bowler said Canberra was happy to extract wealth from regional WA and spend it in Canberra and on the Eastern Seaboard.
“Our resources growth is a major contributor to Peter Costello’s surplus, through income tax, company tax and royalties, but he is not giving anything back to regional WA,” Mr Bowler said.
“This approach is jeopardising our future prosperity, as well as penalising existing communities.
“For example, he has failed to deliver the $12million matching funding for the Gallop Government’s innovative geosurvey project that helps identify new mineral deposits and he has ignored industry calls for a flow-through share arrangements that would promote exploration.
“These initiatives would have helped ensure that the current mining effort can be sustained well into the future.”
The Minister said the mining industry should send a strong message to the Howard Government that it could not continue to be ignored.
“The Budget has also failed yet again to increase the Zone Rebate Allowance or provide Fringe Benefit Tax relief for employers in regional and remote areas,” he said.
“Both these moves would have increased local employment and provided an incentive for resource companies to locate their workforce in the regions rather than use fly-in, fly-out.
“Most importantly they would have given regional communities a fairer share of the benefits from resource activities.”
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