More to WA than mining: Gillard

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has sought to reassure Western Australia it is more than just a mining state.

At a state Labor Party conference on Saturday, Gillard said Western Australia is not seen simply as a mining state used to feed the national economy, and addressed the issues of the two-speed economy there.

"You have built a state that’s so much, so much more than a mine or a gas field," she said.

The Prime Minister said she had plans to make sure opportunities created in WA would build a strong economy the state could benefit from.

"Because while we understand WA is strong we also understand WA feels the patchwork of our economy more than anywhere else," she said.
"(West Australians) see the benefits around but don’t feel them in their own lives."

While she has pledged that WA will benefit from its own success, she admitted the state is important to the rest of Australia, pointing out that it currently produces five times more export more capita than the rest of the country.

She insisted the state benefits from being governed by the federal government, attempting to silence the rumblings across the state that it would be better to separate from federation and says the recent decisions by the government on the mining and carbon taxes, as well as the ban on live exports to Indonesia would benefit every Australian.

“We are determined to keep the whole economy strong and we’re determined to ensure opportunity for all," she said.

The Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett doesn’t share Gillard’s view on the success of the taxes and the treatment of the state.

He labelled the Minerals Resources Rent Tax (MRRT) as “appallingly poor” and said the state’s share if the GST was unfair.

"The state simply feels picked on," he said during a speech at the Liberal Party national conference in Canberra.

"People are saying what are we doing wrong … just leave us alone and let us get on with it."

He said WA’s share of the GST, set to fall to 33 cents in the dollar, as estimated by state treasury, would "inevitably weaken the Australian federation".

"I don’t want to see that happen," he said.

Image: News Ltd

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