In Australia, a federal Member Of Parliament (MP) has called on Western Australia to launch a High Court challenge designed to force states that earn billions of dollars from gambling taxes to hand back more money as part of the annual goods and services tax (GST) redistribution process.
According to a report from The Australian newspaper, Perth MP Alannah MacTiernan stated that it is a “scandal” that Western Australia includes all of the taxes it charges from selling iron ore in the yearly GST assessment while states that earn money from gambling have these funds excluded.
A member of the minority Australian Labor Party in Canberra, MacTiernan estimated that Western Australia could benefit to the tune of up to $303.6 million a year if the Commonwealth Grants Commission (CGC) decided to assess gambling revenues from states such as New South Wales and Victoria.
Western Australia does not allow electronic gaming machines in pubs and clubs, which meant that it collected only $242.9 million in gambling revenues for 2015. However, Victoria and New South Wales bring in approximately $1.5 billion a year while Queensland raises about $760 million.
MacTiernan, who is set to retire from federal politics later this year, declared that the CGC needs to take “actual” gambling taxes generated by states into account when calculating the redistribution rather than their “potential” to raise revenues.
Although her call has so far not been supported by Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull or the leader of the Australian Labor Party, Bill Shorten, the newspaper reported that it did have the backing of one senior federal MP who asked to remain anonymous along with local Western Australia legislator Ben Wyatt.