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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

5 October 2004

Latham's huge threat to Western Australia

The Howard Government has delivered a strong, secure economy that has helped Western Australia (WA) with low interest rates, higher wages through Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs), surplus budgets, lower taxes for individuals and families, and strong support for the mining, exploration and primary industries that have boomed under the Coalition.

Mark Latham thinks WA has it too good. The attached newspaper article, which he wrote before becoming Opposition Leader, makes it clear that he believes WA is getting too big a slice of the pie. Mr Latham says Perth residents get too much because they are receiving more per head out of the Grants Commission than people living in Sydney.

A city like Perth, with 1.2 million people, has superior services - such as five universities and efficient main roads - than say the western Sydney region. Yet federal grants…work out at just $750 a head, compared to $1000 for people in Perth…

The Grants Commission's methods are now so hopelessly complex, out of date and unfair they need to be scrapped.

Mr Latham demonstrates his complete ignorance of WA's particular needs. He ignores the fact that Western Australia is one of the most sparsely-populated regions on earth with only 10 percent of Australia's population occupying one-third of Australia's land mass and a huge need for expensive infrastructure such as roads.

A Latham Labor Government would harm WA. If Mr Latham stands true to his own writings, they would take money from our State and give it to other areas of Australia. They would junk the Grants Commission and put WA taxpayers at risk of higher taxes and less money for schools and hospitals.

Labor will also abolish Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs), crippling our mining and gas industries and putting many small businesses at risk. Union-forced wage hikes would put pressure back on inflation, which has been all but eliminated under the Howard Costello economic management team. High inflation means high interest rates. Latham and Labor are a huge risk for every Western Australian.

Only voting Liberal on Saturday can Western Australians be assured of three more years of proven and successful economic management delivering low interest rates and stability for our vital WA industries and small businesses.

Commonwealth of Australia