$250m tax cuts in first term: Libs

27 Aug, 2008 04:34 AM
WA Liberal Leader Colin Barnett.
WA Liberal Leader Colin Barnett.

A Liberal government would provide an extra $250 million in tax cuts in its first term in office, leader Colin Barnett says.

The cuts were most likely to come from stamp duty, payroll and land taxes, but would be guided by the result of an "economic audit" the Liberals would hold within 30 days of gaining office, Mr Barnett said.

A tax review would also examine other possible cuts over and above the forward estimates and the audit, but yearly variations made it difficult to accurately determine levels of funding available for reform.

But the review would ensure WA's "tax competitiveness" with other states, and give families and businesses "the dividend they deserve" from the boom, Mr Barnett said.

While the cuts fell short of what the $300 million to $400 million a year the business lobby wanted, they recognised more funds had to be spent on areas like education, he said.

Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief economist John Nicolaou said Mr Barnett's promise was a good start but there was more room to move to provide further tax cuts.

"We believe that it is affordable in the current budget settings, that we can have more substantial tax cuts, and we will look for that commitment from the Liberal Party if it is elected,'' Mr Nicolaou said.

"They are modest ... over four years that doesn't deliver significant amounts of tax cuts so we would certainly think that is modest. But if you can look at public sector reform then there is an opportunity for more substantial tax cuts to be delivered."

CCI research had shown Western Australians paid $437 more in tax than the national average and the organisation also wanted a "meaningful commitment" from Labor for tax relief.

Treasurer Eric Ripper said it was "incredible" that Mr Barnett could announce a tax policy but leave out the details.

"How are Western Australians to believe his promise when he can't spell out who will benefit and by how much," he said.


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