MEDIA RELEASE: $750,000 corporate handout to WA potato industry is a waste of taxpayer funds: Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance (ATA)

The ATA, a 50,000+ member grassroots public advocacy group representing the nation’s taxpayers, today condemned the Western Australia state government for its $750,000 handout of taxpayer money for the expansion of just 4 businesses.

“This handout is a transfer of wealth from working Australians who already bear one of the developed world’s highest tax burdens, to four businesses who have collectively raised $2.58 million in private investment.” Said Satyajeet Marar, Director of Policy at the ATA. “Unlike these investors, taxpayers will not see a single cent of return on the money funnelled into these projects.

“Just 2 years ago, the WA Potato industry received over $14 million in taxpayer funds following the deregulation of the industry. Over $12 million flowed directly to growers while the remaining $2 million went into industry development. It beggars belief that taxpayers are now being charged an extra three-quarters of a million to fund the expansion of a few businesses and prop up the industry when the funds could be better spent on improving infrastructure and services that directly benefit taxpayers.

“Handouts like these are an example of governments picking winners, something that should be left to the private sector. Small and large businesses and industries across the nation face competition every day and most of these do not benefit from government handouts.

“Billions of dollars in public funds sunk into corporate welfare for Holden, SPC and other companies in the last two decades are an example of unconscionable government waste. We cannot afford further handouts at a time when our gross public debt is set to balloon past $600 billion dollars, well over $40,000 per Aussie household.

“The WA potato industry has been hit by government-imposed export restrictions to other states due to bio-security concerns, even though recent tests indicate no bio-security threat and even as the export of WA potatoes to international markets continues without issue.  We call on policymakers to expedite the abolition of these restrictions to assist farmers facing difficulty, instead of spending taxpayer funds on exorbitant corporate welfare.”   

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