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PM in 'sneaky manoeuvre' over GST: McGowan

AAP logoAAP 26/09/2016

WA Labor leader Mark McGowan has accused the prime minister of a "sneaky manoeuvre" by flagging changes to GST distribution to help his Liberal counterparts return to government at the March state election.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced during his speech at the WA Liberal state conference last month that he would set a percentage floor below which no state's receipts of GST could fall.

But it was reported at the weekend that in a letter to Liberal Senator Eric Abetz, the prime minister said the GST issue would not need to be resolved for "some years".

Mr McGowan said on Monday he advocated for a floor and wanted WA to receive 80 cents in the dollar.

"I think what Mr Turnbull did was a sneaky manoeuvre to get him through the Liberal state conference and, in his mind, help Colin Barnett get through the state election," he told 6PR radio.

"The reality is there is no commitment and there is no agreement of anything significant in the near future or indeed in the long-term future because it's just talk without action."

Christian Porter, the former WA state treasurer and now federal social services minister, has said he thought the target date was likely to be 2019/20.

But WA Premier Colin Barnett told parliament on August 16 the objective was to have the system in place this year.

WA currently receives less than 30 cents in every GST dollar despite the mining downturn and suffers under the current system because there is a three-year time lag on awarding underperforming jurisdictions.

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