WA Nationals stall Bill in push for Moora Residential College funds

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Geoff VivianMidwest Times
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Member for Moore Shane Love said the WA Nationals were not opposed to the Foreign Buyers Surcharge legislation they voted against last Wednesday.

“The Government rejected our offer to support their duty in return for a complete reversal of all of 2017’s education cuts including Moora Residential College and the Agricultural Provisions Trust,” he said.

“We are willing to support the duty in the Upper House if the Government is willing to completely reverse the cuts.

“As a regional party we are committed to fixing regional education, most of these duties would be on units in South Perth and around the universities whereas our Liberal mates have other considerations.”

Last week the Nationals used their numbers in the Lower House to vote down a Bill for the proposed surcharge on residential property transactions by foreign buyers.

The Government expected it to raise $21 million in 2019 and help plug the estimated $120 million hole in WA’s finances.

Nationals finance spokesman Terry Redman had moved an amendment to the Bill which neither Labor nor the Liberals supported.

As the Government needs the support of the Greens and at least one other member to pass a Bill, it was voted down.

Mr Redman said that before the 2017 election now Premier Mark McGowan promised a 4 per cent tax on foreign property buyers but had since increased that to 7 per cent.

“The Government proposed to use proceeds — about $70 million over three years — from the new tax to fund a freeze on TAFE fees,” Mr Redman said.

“The Premier does not have a mandate to increase the rate to 7 per cent.

“Therefore we are demanding that those extra proceeds — about $50 million from 2018-19 to 2021-22 — are used to reverse Labor’s suite of cuts to regional education.”

Nats leader Mia Davies said $50 million would fund the continued operation of Moora Residential College and six camp schools across the State which Labor have proposed closing.

It would also extinguish the need for Labor to raid the Agricultural Farm Provisions Trust and keep the doors of the Landsdale Farm School and Herdsman Lake Wildlife Centre open.

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