WA Labor has slammed Colin Barnett for not being more diplomatic in his stoush with fellow premiers over the states’ carve-up of the GST.
The premier went into the COAG meeting on Friday hoping to win support for a change in the way GST revenue is distributed, given WA’s share is set to fall from less than 38 cents in the dollar to below 30 cents in 2015/16.
But he came away only with a promise of further talks with Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the hint that some infrastructure funds might be available for WA.
State Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said Mr Barnett should have been more diplomatic.
“The premier’s behaviour has been embarrassing but what is more embarrassing is the fact that he’s come away with no outcome for WA,” Mr McGowan told reporters.
“With a Liberal prime minister and a Liberal premier, you’d think we’d get a better outcome than we have but we’ve got zip.
“Mr Barnett’s behaviour succeeded in uniting Liberal and Labor governments around Australia against us.”
Federal Labor leader Bill Shorten said the premiers should have conducted themselves more maturely “than a bunch of schoolboys yelling at each other”, but reserved special blame for Mr Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey for telling the states and territories to duke it out between themselves.
“Today’s premier’s conference and the lead-up to it has been such a disillusioning affair for Australians,” Mr Shorten said.
Mr Barnett told ABC radio a lower GST share meant WA would probably have to cut capital works programs, reduce spending generally, “withdraw from some arrangements” and focus more on its trade relationships with Asia.