Ring road a ploy on GST

Talitha Wolfe, Saskia Adysti and Joe SpagnoloAlbany Advertiser

Federal funding for the long-awaited Albany Ring Road project could be used as a bargaining chip to appease WA over GST distribution.

The State receives 34¢ for every $1, and while WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt has warned “anything short of a relativity of 100 per cent (dollar for dollar)” is unacceptable, sources say the Turnbull Government will use infrastructure funding to placate an angry WA.

Earlier this week, it was reported the Federal Government would argue with the additional Commonwealth infrastructure funding, WA would receive the equivalent of at least 70¢ in the dollar.

Last year, the McGowan Government promised $35 million to the Albany Ring Road project, provided Federal funding body Infrastructure Australia funded the remaining $137 million.

To finish the project, which stalled after stage one — Menang Drive — was completed in 2007, a further $172 million is needed to create a heavy haulage route. Member for Albany Peter Watson welcomed funding for the ring road but warned it would not be compensation for GST distribution.

Federal Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson said a business case for the ring road was yet to be submitted by the State Government.

The Productivity Commission will deliver its final report on GST distribution reform on May 15.

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