After an extraordinary spray monday labeling Pierre Duton a conservative “extremist”, Premier of Western Australia Marc McGowan turned its anger on the Victoria Labor government over its $2.6 billion bid to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games.
McGowan has denounced the mismanagement of state budgets, including by his fellow Labor Prime Minister, Daniel Andrewsafter being asked if he thought the Albanian government would bow to pressure from other states to roll back changes to the GST formula passed by the coalition government in 2018.
“States need to manage their budgets,” he said. “I know Victoria, they are fellow travelers and such, but they just spent $2.6 billion to have the Commonwealth Games in Bendigo.
“I mean, if they want to spend that amount of money on the Commonwealth Games in Bendigo and then complain that they don’t have enough money, well, maybe they should make different decisions. “
Mayor of the City of Perth Basil Zempilas had asked for a bid from Perth for the 2026 Commonwealth Games, but it was turned down by the McGowan government.
“We decided not to go to the Commonwealth Games because I didn’t want, in an uncertain world, to go and spend $2.5 billion on something that is a beautiful [thing] have,” he said.
“What we want to do is properly fund our hospitals, address major health issues, pay down debt, [and] diversify the economy.
Earlier this month, WA’s budget revealed the state has an operating surplus of $5.7 billion for 2021-22, driven mainly by high iron ore prices.
The GST formula change was hit by the coalition government in 2018 after WA’s budget result was hammered by years of depressed iron ore prices.
The reversal of fortunes, coupled with billions of dollars more than expected in GST cash, has sparked discontent in other states.
This included NSW Premier Dominique Perrotetwho described McGowan as “the Gollum of Australian politics”.
McGowan has freely criticized the NSW government’s handling of its budget, but today’s comments were his harshest accusation yet against Victoria’s Labor government, whose net debt is set to reach £101.9bn dollars by the end of this fiscal year.