WA Nationals leader Brendon Grylls has labelled Malcolm Turnbull a hypocrite for opposing a $4.75 per tonne iron ore tax increase.
Grylls is stirring up support ahead of Western Australia’s state election on March 11.
The Nationals leader is pushing to increase one tax paid by Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton from 25c per tonne to $5 per tonne for all iron ore mined in the state.
The proposal is – understandably – unpopular with miners, and has been criticised by politicians at all levels, including WA Premier Colin Barnett, state Opposition leader Mark McGowan, and the prime minister.
Grylls lashed out at the PM this week, saying federal plans to increase the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax (PRRT) will have the same impact to companies as his tax, but will funnel funds to the Commonwealth rather than the state.
“How is it Mr Turnbull that changes to the PRRT, which deliver a new revenue to the Commonwealth budget, won’t affect jobs and sovereign risk but a change to the 1960s lease rental that is collected by the West Australian Government will?” he said this week, according to AFR.
“Shame on you. [It is] rank hypocrisy that does not befit the Prime Minister.”
Grylls, who became the WA Nationals leader late last year, has not pulled any punches in the lead-up to the election, consistently treating both the Liberal and Labor parties with equal contempt, despite the Nationals’ traditional allegiances to the former.
He recently told voters only the Nationals were “brave enough” to fix the state’s economy, and has frequently criticised the Liberals’ plans to privatise Western Power.
“The three most significant figures in Western Australian politics – McGowan, Barnett and Turnbull – have no plan to change the budget situation in Western Australia,” he was quoted by the ABC.
“The West Australian Nationals do.”
He has asked the voters to place his opponents’ proposals under the same scrutiny applied to his mining tax.
“I would say that we’ve been asked to bend over and cough … on this policy,” he reportedly said.
“Maybe we should have been.
“But surely if the West Australian Nationals are going to be put to that scrutiny, that everyone would be put to that scrutiny.”