Carmen Lawrence

Carmen Lawrence

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    Opposition economic package reliant on Hewson GST

    5/02/1993 12:00 AM
     
     
    Opposition Leader Richard Court's whole economic package is in tatters because it is clear he cannot abolish payroll tax without a Hewson GST.
     
    "It is now obvious that Mr Court just can't deliver on the payroll tax commitment - and if he can't deliver on this central pledge, then all of his promises fall apart," Premier Carmen Lawrence said today.
     
    "The Institute of Public Affairs has shot down Mr Court's claim that he can abolish payroll tax and he is backpedalling in his own costings document.
     
    "It is significant that the Opposition's own costings document, released on Tuesday, does not cost the commitment to remove or phase-out payroll tax.
     
    "Leaving out the Opposition's promise to abolish payroll tax, the IPA said total Opposition promises would blow out by 31 per cent.  If the commitment to abolish payroll tax is added, their costings are out by a massive 96 per cent.
     
    "The Opposition merely says it will begin phasing out the tax 'as the benefits from the Coalition's better financial management accumulate'.  Western Australians are being deceived because if the benefits don't accrue, they won't do it.
     
    "Yesterday, the Institute of Public Affairs said it did not cost the promise because a Court government could not abolish the tax without compensation from Canberra."
     
    Dr Lawrence said Western Australians must realise that the only way Mr Court could meet his payroll tax promise was through a massive increase in taxes and charges and savage cuts to essential services.
     
    "Mr Court has said, if elected, he will audit State finances.  That will be the excuse to hoist taxes and charges - just as Mr Kennett has done, and is still doing, in Victoria."
     
    Dr Lawrence urged Western Australians to think carefully before voting on Saturday.
     
    "We must look beyond the Court cliches and claims and consider the real issues of jobs, industrial relations, education and health," she said.
     
    "I challenge Mr Court to answer the fundamental questions raised in this campaign."
     
    These questions are:
     
    Taxes and charges:
    Why is Mr Court hiding the extent of increases in taxes and charges necessary to fund his $548 million promises?  Will Mr Court guarantee that his proposed audit of State finances will not be used as a subterfuge for massive price hikes?
     
    Opposition costings:
    Where would a Court Government get the money to fund the wide range of Opposition promises that the Government has identified?  No provision has been made for a $116 million a year hole in health; no provision for more than $100 million for roads; insufficient provision for extra police officers; education; housing.
     
    Jobs:
    Where is Mr Court's plan to add value to the things Western Australia produces?  Where is Mr Court's plan to stop exporting our jobs?  Can he guarantee we won't revert to a dig it up, ship it out mentality?
     
    Industrial Relations:
    What choice will a worker have if the majority of his workmates are forced into employment contracts?  How will Mr Court ensure that employers agree to participate in a compulsory arbitration hearing when disputes can't be settled by negotiation?
     
    Education:
    Will Mr Court offer full-time pre-primary schooling to all five-year-olds within 12 months?  Why won't he rule out increases in TAFE fees?  Why won't he commit himself to creating a specific number of new TAFE places?  Why has the Coalition refused to launch any education policy?
     
    Health:
    How does Mr Court explain the $116 million hole in his health budget, which he has called 'improvements to efficiency'?
     
    Economy:
    Why does Mr Court continually talk down the Western Australian economy and the people who have made it the  strongest, with Queensland, in the nation?
     
    Rothwells:
    Why did Mr Court fail to provide Western Australians with the inside information he had about the parlous state of Rothwells' finances before its collapse?