Cracks widen as tax push falters

The Sunday Times, 30.10.16
THE war between the Barnett Government alliance partners has escalated, with Treasurer Mike Nahan yesterday dismissing the Nationals’ plan for payroll tax deductions.
Dr Nahan and business leaders dismissed WA Nationals leader Brendon Grylls’ plan to impose a new tax on big iron ore miners to fund an increase in payroll exemptions for businesses from $850,000 a year to $5 million.
A defiant Mr Grylls told the Nationals state conference in Geraldton yesterday he would not stop fighting for his controversial mining tax proposal.
He ridiculed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Premier Colin Barnett’s announcement at the Liberal state conference on a floor in GST distribution to the states.
“It led the news bulletins and Colin Barnett said it was the greatest advance in GST relations with the Commonwealth in the last 20 years, and disappeared – and it means nothing,” Mr Grylls said.
Mr Grylls told The Sunday Times he would not sit by and allow WA to lose its one-time title of economic powerhouse.
“We have just been ranked the bottom of the nation, in terms of our economy by CommSec in an annual report which is much respected,” he said the way you have jobs plan is to encourage businesses to have new equipment, new innovation. That drives new jobs. If we reduce payroll tax by increasing the threshold to $5 million it exempts 10,000 of the 17,000 payers of payroll tax. It puts money back on to the bottom line of businesses and encourages them to employ. That is a real jobs plan.”
Ahead of yesterday’s conference, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce reiterated his opposition to the mining tax plan after a meeting with Mr Grylls. “He certainly has explained his position clearly to me, which is what I would expect and I appreciated the opportunity to sit down and have a yam,” the federal Nationals leader said.
“We went through the issues of where the tax emanated from and that’s always good information to have.
“My position is that we fought against the mining tax at the last election, so I think from my position I want to remain consistent about that
“But I do understand what Brendon is doing.”