The federal government is deliberately attacking Western Australian with its proposed mining and carbon taxes which will damage the state’s prosperity, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says.
Mr Abbott used his speech to the West Australian Liberal Party to praise the state’s economic strength while continuing his attack
on the carbon tax and the mining tax.
“These new taxes are specifically targeted at WA,” he said.
“The mining tax targets the west’s iron ore industry as well as NSW and Queensland’s coal industry. The mining tax is an anti WA tax.
“The carbon tax targets the burning of fossil fuels and given the importance of gas to the west’s future, this is another anti WA tax.”
Mr Abbott said the federal government’s pursuit of these two taxes demonstrated it was out of touch with the country’s “most dynamic state”.
As federal governments had historically focused on NSW and Victoria, Mr Abbott said WA needed to be treated just as seriously.
“Just as the centre of economic gravity is moving from the Atlantic to the Pacific, Australia’s economic gravity is moving to the west…” he said.
“The government can never adopt policies which will damage WA without killing the goose that laid the golden egg for every single Australian wherever they may be.”
He said “WA was more than just a big mine but the principal foundation of our economic strength”.
In a rousing speech to an audience including WA Premier Colin Barnett and deputy opposition leader Julie Bishop, Mr Abbott raised doubts about effectiveness of the carbon tax.
He said according to the government’s own figures, carbon tax emissions will go from 578 million tonnes a year at the moment to 621 million tonnes by 2020.
Emissions would only be cut by 80 per cent by 2050, Mr Abbott said, if people bought 400 million tonnes worth of carbon credits from foreign traders.
“And we all know they’re honest, as the day is long,” he said.
This week the opposition admitted the coalition would have to find $70 billion in savings to fund its policy commitments.
Mr Abbott used his speech to defend the Liberal’s economic credentials, saying the party had demonstrated it was fiscally responsible during the Howard government.
He said although the Liberals had found $50 billion in savings across the forward estimates, it had also found $40 billion in alternative spending.
But it was still a $10 billion improvement across the Commonwealth’s forward estimates.
Mr Abbott repeated his pledge to a paid parental leave scheme funded by a levy on big business while announcing it would roll out WA’s independent schools program across the country.
The program gives greater control to principals in how their money is spent.
The speech was not scarce on attacks on Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her government which were repeatedly met by applause.
“Some people say this government is the worst since Whitlam but this is very unfair to Gough Whitlam,” he said.
“Whitlam was only administratively incompetent and never sold the soul of the Labor Party to Senator Bob Brown.”