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Standing up for Local Workers

Western Australia presently has the highest unemployment rate in the country, with over 120,000 people out of work. Many more are underemployed.

I firmly believe local workers should be prioritised for local jobs. I believe it’s deeply unfair, not to mention irresponsible, to keep bringing in so many foreign workers to compete with West Australians when jobs are scarce.

Both Labor and Coalition governments have relaxed immigration requirements and made it easier to bring in foreign labour. They have presided over and encouraged the mass importation of overseas workers while showing scant regard for locals.

West Australians are sick of hearing stories about temporary visa holders being recruited for jobs that can and should be performed by our own workers. If we add to this the downward pressure on wages that has resulted from mass immigration, it is clear that the current policies pursued by the major parties are not favourable to West Australian workers.

A December 2016 report stated that ” current migration policies are delivering large numbers of professionals of dubious relevance to Australias skill needs. These outcomes are making it even harder for local graduates and other job seekers to find work.”

It is a simple truth I am the only authentic political voice putting West Australians first. We will fight to end the open-ended recruitment of overseas workers so that West Australians stand a better chance in the current tough job market.

If I hold the balance of power, I will seek to:

  • Drastically slash the WA skilled migration and graduate occupation lists.
  • Work with our federal colleagues to reduce temporary and permanent immigration levels.
  • Make sure local workers are first in line for state government jobs.

Tax rebates for apprenticeships and traineeships

If I hold the balance of power, we will seek to introduce payroll tax incentives for West Australian businesses to employ apprentices and trainees.

Under our payroll tax rebate proposal, WA employers who hire apprentices and trainees will receive a payroll tax rebate of 20 per cent on their wages for one financial year, in addition to their wages being exempt from payroll tax.

The apprentice payroll tax rebate will used as an offset against the payroll tax liability payable on the wages of a businesss other employees.

Such payroll tax rebates will encourage businesses to take on apprentices and trainees, stimulate jobs growth, improve the skills of the local workforce and give young West Australians a foot in the job market door.

Supporting WA businesses

We believe stronger action must be taken to support WA businesses through state government procurement activities.

If I hold the balance of power, we will seek to:

  • Make local content provisions more robust – employing local west Australians first.
  • Encourage the use of local suppliers over foreign competitors where feasible in order to support import replacement activities.
  • Mandate the use of Australian-standard steel in all future government projects.
  • Support local content provisions for big resources projects in WA and encourage large resource projects to recruit locally first.
  • We believe local businesses and workers should be given the chance to participate in major resources projects where practical.
  • Establish a Regional Small Business Development Fund to assist entrepreneurship and new business creation in regional and rural WA. This will be funded by Royalties for Regions.

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Housing

All West Australians deserve access to safe, secure and affordable housing in cohesive communities. Sadly, too many West Australians, particularly younger people, find it difficult to put a roof over their head. Home ownership was the Australian dream but it has become the Australian nightmare in recent years.

The major parties have supported and overseen rapid, immigration-fed population growth, which has placed upward pressure on land and housing prices. It is projected that another 800,000 new homes will be needed in Perth and Peel to accommodate the Third World-like rate of population growth deliberately engineered by the major parties.

Governments of both persuasions have also failed to crack down on illegal foreign purchases of existing homes and the flow of dirty foreign funds into Australian property for laundering purposes. Combined, this is pricing many ordinary people out of the market.

If I hold  the balance of power, we will seek to amend the foreign buyers tax (which we helped introduce in 2017) to 20 per cent on residential property purchases by non-resident foreigners. This will apply to all non-resident foreign citizens buying property in WA. In addition to curbing demand and reducing competition for housing, the proposed increase would generate revenue to be spent on public services and infrastructure or used to expand social housing or Keystart schemes.

Tying into other policies, we will also seek to:

  • Work with our federal colleagues to further tighten up Australias foreign ownership laws and make sure they are enforced.
  • Stop the flow of dirty foreign money buying up Australian real estate.
  • Work with federal colleagues to reduce rapid population growth by lowering immigration levels. This will take pressure off housing stock.
  • Review state taxes and their effects on housing affordability.
  • Reduce stamp duty costs for eligible seniors who are downsizing their housing needs.
  • Examine how Keystart shared ownership schemes can be improved and expanded.
  • Make sure government land and housing developments include a minimum of 15 percent affordable housing targeted at low-to-moderate income households.
  • Prioritise the development of aged housing and aged friendly communities.

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Easing the Squeeze on Perth

The major parties talk about Perths congestion woes but never discuss its cause: rapid population growth. Over 500,000 people have moved to WA in the last decade. The Liberal, National and Labor parties have promoted and overseen this influx but have failed to adequately plan for the rapidly expanding population.

Perths breakneck rate of growth has placed immense pressure on infrastructure and services. Existing residents have borne the costs through greater congestion on roads and public transport, as well as more expensive housing and reduced amenity. Perths freeways have become clogged, our trains overcrowded and our schools and hospitals overloaded. Residents seeking affordable housing have been squeezed out to the urban fringes.

The huge infrastructure costs associated with the population explosion has also forced increased state debt borrowings and unpopular proposed asset sales such as Western Power.

Congestion is now killing productivity. Congestion costs across Perth were estimated at around $2 billion a year in 2015, and by 2030 that figure is expected to more than double to between $4.4 billion and $5.7 billion.

Its glaringly obvious Perths growth has been poorly managed. Previous Governments have promised new train lines and infrastructure but have failed to deliver, as the people of Ellenbrook and other parts of Perth can attest. WA Labor states that it will prioritise such projects but cant explain where the funding will come from. Its policy paper on infrastructure lacks a strategy to cope with population growth.

It is anticipated that the population of Perth and Peel will swell by around 75 per cent to 3.5 million, largely fed by immigration. The WA Government has conceded that such growth will place increased and unsustainable pressure on our natural environment, our economic well-being and our highly-valued way of life. Glossy planning documents wont be enough to prevent the decline in living standards if rapid growth continues.

Therefore if elected I will:

  • Work with our federal colleagues to reduce immigration levels in order to ease the growth pressures on Perth.
  • Encourage population decentralisation and the development of Bunbury as WAs second city.
  • Relocate certain government departments to regional areas.
  • Develop a state population strategy putting the well-being of West Australians first.

We will also:

  • Examine the development of other port options to deal with capacity issues at Fremantle Port.
  • Support the creation of an independent advisory body to impartially evaluate and prioritise major infrastructure projects in WA.
  • Push to reduce waiting times for the WA Planning Commission to undertake planning assessments.

Infrastructure Development

New ways of funding infrastructure in WA are needed to ease congestion, lift productivity, generate economic growth and jobs and keep our assets in Australian hands.

If I hold the balance of power at the next State Election, we will examine the creation of a Western Australian Infrastructure Finance Corporation.

Such an entity would reduce state debt and deficit by taking over some of the long-term financing of infrastructure investment. A WA Infrastructure Finance Corporation would be financed with seed funding and direct public funding and operate on a commercial basis.

A WA Infrastructure Finance Corporation would help finance infrastructure projects in our state, at concessional interest rates, thus spreading the costs across the generations who would benefit from these projects.

This method would allow WA to finance and construct major projects while earning a return for the taxpayer. It would allow the government to cut its budget expenditure, freeing up funds either to pay down debt or to invest in education, health, families, policing and other areas. It would also reduce the need for asset recycling – selling off public assets to fund new infrastructure – and mean less foreign ownership of domestic assets.

A new source on infrastructure finance will also unlock the economic potential of regional and rural WA. A WA Infrastructure Finance Corporation would provide concessional loans for infrastructure projects that stimulate economic and community development in regional and rural areas. I will also encourage Australian superannuation funds to buy and manage major infrastructure projects. Projects supported by the WA Infrastructure Finance Corporation could be, upon completion, sold to superannuation funds.

We will also examine value capture and Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to fund new urban infrastructure projects in the Perth metro area. We will seek to modernise developer contribution requirements in WA.

The better our infrastructure, the more competitive and profitable WA businesses will be. This means more jobs and economic opportunities for all West Australians.

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Support for Small Miners and Prospectors

I understand previously proposed amendments to the Mining Act 1978 would have had a dramatic effect on the ability of genuine prospectors and small miners to go about their business. We will continue to support the rights of prospectors and small businesses.

Therefore if I hold the balance of power we will seek to:

  • Block any amendments to the Mining Act 1978 that may have a detrimental impact on the viability of prospectors and small scale miners.
  • Create a template environmental management form for use by small scale miners.
  • Introduce a tiered approach to the mining industry in WA designed to cut red tape and cost for small miners and prospectors.
  • Reduce onerous regulations surrounding low impact mining operations. I recognise that more than 80 per cent of the gold mines in WA were found by prospectors which in 2012 were worth over $12 billion to industry and it was the small miner/prospector who was responsible for those discoveries.

Native Title and Heritage

I will seek to clean up the Native Title industry in WA and push for amendments to the Aboriginal Heritage Act as soon as possible.

The mining industry has expressed concern about the high costs and long delays caused by native title representative bodies in undertaking heritage surveys and negotiating Heritage Agreements. This is killing investment and job creation.

Therefore I will lobby for changes, including:

  • Mandatory disclosure of heritage sites, places and objects.
  • Ability to transfer heritage survey reports between tenement holders.
  • Agreement on a range of fees and charges for heritage clearances.
  • Capacity to provide delegated authority to indemnify proponents from prosecution based on mandatory disclosure.
  • Granting the Department of Aboriginal Affairs the power to undertake heritage surveys.

 Port Access for Miners

I believe that ports should be affordable and accessible to emerging miners. Keeping ports in public hands guarantees future access for all parties and encourages growth in the mining sector. Therefore if elected, One Nation will oppose the privatisation of the Utah Point Bulk Handling Facility in Port Hedland. We will also support a review into state port authority fee structures. Industry has stated that the current fee charging structure is complex and inequitable for smaller miners with a lower tonnage throughput.

Local Opportunities

I support local content provisions for big resources projects in. We believe local businesses and workers should be given the chance to participate in major resources projects in cases where it is viable. If One Nation holds the balance of power I will support legislation to enable more opportunities for locals.

Lithium Mining and Processing

I support the emerging lithium sector and will work with industry to encourage investment in processing. WA needs to value add rather than just dig and ship its minerals. If we achieve the balance of power, One Nation will seek to drive the development of a lithium processing industry in the Goldfields or the Pilbara. We will direct government agencies to partner with industry to develop suitable land and infrastructure for a lithium processing industry. We will also provide tax incentives.

Exploration Incentive Scheme

I support the Exploration Incentive Scheme and will lobby for its continuation.

Affordable Gas

WA has significant natural gas reserves but has failed to create enough value for our own people from these resources. We must develop these reserves for our own domestic market as a priority. Domestic industry and households should have access to natural gas at prices that give WA a competitive advantage. Current domestic gas prices are simply too high.

I believe more must be done to develop and secure long term domestic supplies.

Local industry has warned of a looming gas supply crunch in WA as the North West Shelf contracts wind down.

The situation is not helped by the growth of floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) developments.

FLNG projects deliver no gas for the domestic market. They also represent a serious loss of revenue to the WA State Government. Additionally, they reduce opportunities for local content and the jobs it generates.

Therefore if I hold the balance of power I will seek to:

  • Uphold and increase WAs gas reservation policy and ensure sufficient reserves of gas resources are set aside to meet the current and future needs of the WA community.
  • Oppose anti-competitive joint selling arrangements by gas producers.
  • Provide incentives for new developments aimed exclusively at the domestic market.
  • Amend and strengthen WAs local content policies to ensure their relevance to FLNG developments in coastal waters.

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Policing and Community Safety

I stand for a well-ordered society and believe community safety needs to be a high priority for governments. We view the police as a central plank of our society. We also believe in personal and parental responsibility.

Many West Australians are alarmed by the crime rate and no longer feel safe in their communities and homes. These are worrying trends. In the end, we all pay the price for crime in the form of higher taxes, higher prices, lost productivity, lower levels of trust and social cohesion and wasted lives.

If One Nation holds the balance of power, we will lobby to increase police resources and toughen up the criminal justice system. Crime is not a lifestyle option we will tolerate.

Standing with our police

Our police should not be subjected to undue stress as a result of being overstretched and ill-equipped.

I will seek to:

  • Fund an extra 1000 WA police officers.
  • Increase police traffic vehicles.
  • Resource police stations appropriately.
  • Introduce more traffic vehicles.
  • Invest in new technologies including CCTV operations for police, personal and vehicle cameras.
  • Open more 24 hour police stations.
  • Appropriately cater for the welfare needs of police officers.
  • Provide greater legislated protection for police on duty.
  • Extend workers compensation to WA police officers.
  • Reduce roadside speed camera operations.

New tougher criminal legislation

I will:

  • Introduce broken windows legislation in WA. A philosophy of coming down hard on minor offences with juveniles in particular in order to deter future offending.
  • Examine parental responsibility laws to hold parents accountable for the criminal behaviour of their children.
  • Review and amend the Sentencing Act 1995 to allow immediate prison terms.
  • Support Fagins Law type legislation – targeting those procuring young people to commit offences.
  • Mandatory sentencing for those who assault police animals.
  • Introduce tougher minimum and maximum sentences for drug manufacturing and
  • We will crack down on dealers who are ruining the lives of West Australians.
  • Stand up for the victims of crime. We will lobby to make our criminal justice system sufficiently responsive to the needs and rights of victims of crime.
  • Adopt a zero tolerance approach to cultural practices that are either illegal or which conflict with Australian values and customs.

Crime and Sentencing

The WA Government has been a lenient parent for far too long. This approach has clearly failed across the state, with community safety at risk. Crime in WA is at embarrassingly high levels and now it’s time to toughen up.

Therefore we will examine the introduction of more truth-seeking principles into the judicial process and boost support for services and support for victims of crime and process Court matters much quicker.

Prisons

Prisons are no longer a deterrent to crime. Society as a whole needs to consider what role prisons play in punishment and rehabilitation. Prisons should not be the home prisoners never had. We believe sufficiently punitive measures should exist for lawbreakers.

I will:

  • Review the current prisons as a matter of urgency and if required, build more prisons. Current overcrowding is unacceptable.
  • Introduce more robust community or national service to the prison system.
  • Comprehensive and targeted rehabilitation of prisoners with alcohol and drug addictions.
  • Examine home detention technology to assist overcrowding.
  • Examine regional juvenile diversion centres to break the cycle of crime and dysfunction in some of our most troubled communities.

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