Colin Barnett has labelled fellow premiers “pathetic” and claims the rest of the nation has never understood Western Australia’s economy and its $90 billion-plus resources industry.
The fired-up, slimmed-down Liberal Premier — the nation’s longest-serving current political leader, who is gearing up to fight for a third term — said people in political and financial circles on the east coast seemed to think the mining and petroleum sector in his state was going backwards.
“One of the errors being made nationally is when people say the mining boom is over, like it’s finished — well, look at the skyline and the names up there,” he said, pointing to company logos such as BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto on Perth’s skyscrapers.
“It’s a $90bn-plus industry and it’s still the biggest game in town. Mining will continue to grow, and it will be Australia’s biggest export industry for as long as we can see. It just won’t have the massive growth of recent years.”
In an interview with The Weekend Australian, Mr Barnett admitted that his long fight for GST revenues to be shared between the states on a per-capita basis — a move that would have added billions to Western Australia’s depleted coffers — is dead for now.
He was the only premier who backed Malcolm Turnbull’s plan at last week’s Council of Australian Governments meeting to allow the states to apply their own income taxes as a way of funding health and education services.
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