Tasmania: No jobs, no prospects!

 Dr Mike Nahan
Dr Mike Nahan

PREMIER Will Hodgman and Opposition Leader Bryan Green have hit back at claims the GST carve up allows Tasmanians to live in a state with "no jobs and no prospects".

West Australian Treasurer Mike Nahan has called on Tasmanians to instead move to places like his home state, which he described as "'propping up"' Australia's economic growth.

According to the West Australian newspaper, Dr Nahan told an economics forum in Perth on Tuesday the GST was a "dead weight" on the nation's growth.

He said 65¢ in every dollar of GST revenue raised in Western Australia was redistributed elsewhere, despite his state needing the money to drive infrastructure and attract investment.

Dr Nahan took aim at the Commonwealth Grants Commission, which recommends how GST proceeds are distributed among states and territories.

"(The commission) is telling Tassie, 'If you lock up all your forests and lock up all your mines and destroy growth, you will get compensated for it from the proceeds of WA,' " Dr Nahan said.

The WA Treasurer handed down a particularly scathing assessment of the North-West Coast.

"It's a beautiful place, I sympathise for them, but in reality it is better to put $1 of investment in Karratha than in North-West Tasmania," he said.

According to Dr Nahan, $1 invested in Karratha (in the Pilbara region of Western Australia) would create hundreds of jobs, while $1 in North-West Tasmania "probably won't create any".

Responding to the comments yesterday, Opposition Leader Bryan Green said Dr Nahan had "conveniently ignored" the fact Western Australia was a net beneficiary of GST revenues until very recently.

"Given WA has directly benefited from an unprecedented minerals boom yet had its credit rating downgraded due to spiralling debt, perhaps Dr Nahan should be looking in his own backyard first before handing out advice," Mr Green said.

Premier Will Hodgman said he was "fascinated" by the interest of interstate experts.

"But bluntly, I'm focused on delivering our plan and policies," Mr Hodgman said.

"I'd suggest that the Treasurer there [Western Australia] focuses on the job he's got to do."

Palmer United Party senator Jacqui Lambie told 720 ABC Perth that Dr Nahan's comments were cheap and cowardly, and warned the WA Treasurer to "back down".

"Instead of the Western Australian Treasurer kicking Tasmania when it's already struggling both socially and economically, the West Australian Treasurer should work with us," Senator Lambie said.

She said Dr Nahan's comments implied Tasmania was receiving vast amounts of federal funding.

"I think the West Australian Treasurer can get off his high horse," she said.

"They've had all these resources for many, many years that they've been getting a nice little kickback from and we haven't."


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