Mark McGowan has dramatically refused to pay a $7million bill from Gladys Berejiklian for quarantining Western Australians returning home.
The WA Government has until March 19 – six days after the state election – to pay the invoice for $7,383,321 via online bank transfer or cheque, including GST, or else.
Premier McGowan issued an extraordinary statement tearing up the bill for putting up 1,775 of his residents in Sydney between March 29 and September 30.
Ms Palaszczuk’s deputy Steven Miles even theatrically tore up the invoice for $30million for 7,112 Queenslanders and called it ‘school bully’ tactics.
Mark McGowan (pictured) has refused to pay NSW back for putting his residents through quarantine
Pictured: An image posted by WA premier Mark McGowan saying his government will not five NSW $7million
Mr McGowan similarly slammed NSW in an impassioned Facebook post calling the request for $7 million ‘ridiculous’ and claiming the state thought it was ‘above everyone else’.
The parochial premier even dredged up the Ruby Princess debacle from a year ago, saying he did not send Ms Berejiklian a bill for the ‘pain and hurt’ it caused.
The doomed cruise ship resulted in 900 cases and 28 deaths, the overwhelming majority of which got sick on the boat before it docked in Sydney.
‘We are all Australians, and we all have a duty to help safely process returning Australians,’ Mr McGowan wrote.
‘The New South Wales Government thinks they can be above everyone else… I won’t give in to this request.’
Pictured: Ms Palaszczuk’s deputy Steven Miles even theatrically tearing up the invoice for $30million
Gladys Berejiklian (pictured) said all state treasurers agreed to pay other states back for quarantining their residents
NSW covered the quarantine costs with the understanding, according to Ms Berejiklian, that her state would be reimbursed.
She also previously claimed that all state treasurers last year agreed to cover the cost of their citizens’ quarantine in other states.
Paying for thousands of Australians from other states to quarantine in Sydney has helped land NSW in a $13million budget deficit for 2021.
Mr McGowan, who is enjoying a budget surplus of $3million, took the opportunity on Wednesday to take a swipe at the NSW Government for supposed ‘poor financial management’.
‘The NSW Budget is in a mess because of their poor financial management – Western Australians don’t have to fix their budget problems,’ he said.
‘This is not the Australian way.
‘We never sent NSW a bill for the pain and hurt caused when the NSW Government let the virus run rampant off the Ruby Princess.’
Ms Berejiklian has repeatedly clashed with QLD Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk (pictured) over border closures
Mr McGowan spent the past year weaponising WA residents’ famous antipathy for the eastern states, earning him a 93 per cent approval rating at one point.
The border was completely close for eight months, even to states with no Covid cases for months, and the premier regularly sparred with his eastern counterparts.
Mr McGowan’s latest dummy spit is just a day after he pushed an extraordinary plan to keep the state’s border tightly controlled even after the coronavirus pandemic.
He claimed the idea, which would include tracking the movements of anyone who arrives using G2G passes and conducting vehicles searches, would control drugs in the state.
Upon receiving the $30 million bill last week, Queensland’s deputy premier Steven Miles ripped it up.
‘Scott Morrison has given the go ahead for NSW to send Queensland taxpayers a $30 million bill for their quarantine program, even though it’s 100 per cent a federal responsibility,’ Mr Miles wrote.
‘He’s like a school bully telling us we have to give our lunch money to New South Wales.
‘We’re not going to pay this bill, not while the Commonwealth refuses to endorse our plan for a national quarantine centre.’
Mr McGowan even dredged up the Ruby Princess (pictured) debacle from a year ago, saying he did not send Ms Berejiklian a bill for the ‘pain and hurt’ it caused
The Queensland Government said it would not pay until Prime Minister Scott Morrison gave the green light for a proposed national quarantine hub near Toowoomba, in the state’s south east.
Ms Berejiklian, who has repeatedly clashed with Ms Palaszczuk over border closures, fired back at the Sunshine State and said the debt is ‘owed to the people of NSW’.
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet went a step further by describing it as a political stunt.
‘We acted in good faith in this process and it is disappointing that this agreement is now being treated in this way,’ he said.
An additional 4,991 arrivals who didn’t record an Australian address were allocated proportionally across states and territories and was included in the bulls sent to Queensland and WA.
‘On behalf of the nation, we are doing a huge load. I just want every state to appreciate that,’ she said.
‘We’re not asking for much, we’re just asking for what we are owed. It’s not even the dollars, it’s the principle.’