Resurrected Western Australian Nationals leader Brendon Grylls is standing firm. Deluded, but standing firm.
He’s demanding that a future government deliver on the scheme he proposed on his return to the top job back in August to slug major the miners with a $5.00 per tonne iron ore tax, a 20 fold increase on the 25 cent iron ore levy they already pay.
Grylls’ cunning plan would make Western Australia the highest taxing jurisdiction for iron ore in the world with a rate three times that of Brazil, the state’s biggest competitor.
He sees it as a revamped Royalties for Regions, the policy to tip the equivalent of 25 per cent of the West’s mining and petroleum royalty revenue into regional infrastructure, service and projects that saw the Nats win the balance of power at the 2008 state election – and blackmail the Liberals into a coalition.
Royalties for Regions saw lots of sleepy wheatbelt towns get new footpaths, even if there were few pedestrians to use them.
Still, it encouraged the Nats to think big. And thinking big they are indeed with Grylls’ new plan.
Royalties for Regions funding was originally capped at $1 billion a year.
Estimates for the amount that could be raised with the hit on the miners go as high as three times that amount.
Iron ore prices have had a rollercoaster ride in recent years, but that isn’t stopping the Nats. Nor is the generally shaky state of the WA economy. Mining is their magic pudding for an exercise in cut and come again economics even Nick Xenophon would consider shameless populism.
Now, a new group is standing in their way. They’re calling themselves Royalties for Voters.
These enterprising folks have crunched the numbers; divided the amount Grylls thinks he can raise by the number of electors in the parts that have enjoyed the Nationals’ largesse and calculated that the $4.75 hike in the iron ore production levy would be worth $38,000 for each and every non-metropolitan voter over the four-year life of the next government.
They’re attempting to register as a party ahead of the election set for March 11 next year, but time is running out.
Still, if you’re an eligible West Australian and want to stake your claim to 38 grand – or just think the state’s mercenary Nationals should be taught a lesson about geese and golden eggs – you can head over here and put your weight behind Westralians Royalties for Voters $38,000 Cash.
It is refreshing to see a political party that not only gives you free life membership. Why, when you sign up you can even tick a box agreeing for your name to go into the draw to become a candidate.
And unlike Grylls’ policy, it’s safer than any of those Nigerian emails you may have received recently.