A war of words between the Australian government and Western Australia has continued with WA Premier Colin Barnett claiming Prime Minister Julia Gillard “shows a naivety” for criticising his beliefs on the mining tax.
Defending the Commonwealth’s mining tax, Gillard said Barnett did not understand the pressures on people in Western Australia not benefiting from the mining boom.
Julia Gillard called Barnett a “boom-time leader” who was not doing enough to ensure the massive wealth generated by the mining sector was fairly distributed, according to The West Australian.
“When you look at the WA community, there are many who are experiencing the benefits of the boom and the benefits that flow from it, but there are people who feel they’ve been left behind,” Gillard said.
Get business news first
Sign up to SmartCompany’s daily newsletter
Barnett said he was surprised by Gillard’s comments.
“I think that shows a naivety that can only come from Canberra,” he told Fairfax Radio.
The WA Premier said he was conscious that other sectors, including small businesses, retail and tourism, were “finding it tough”.
“Right across the community, people on pensions or low or fixed incomes are finding life difficult with the rising cost of living pressures,” Barnett said, according to Business Spectator.
Barnett also accused the PM and Treasurer of being “jealous” of WA’s mining success, The Western Australian reports.
“When we see in Australian history, a PM and a treasurer personally, and in a bitter and vindictive way, attack individuals because they happen to be successful in the mining industry – now you reckon that didn’t send a scare around the world for any individual investing, high-profile person, who invests in Australian mining,” he said.
“I think that was just an abhorrent act, and showed a vicious jealously of what’s going on in this state.”