News, media releases

Gutwein can’t answer simple economic questions

  • GST report uncertainty casts long cloud over Tasmania’s Budget
  • Naïve Gutwein blindly accepts Turnbull’s disingenuous GST assurance
  • Clear questions for Gutwein that he has to answer

Tasmania’s Treasurer is unable to answer simple economic questions ahead of this week’s State Budget.

The Productivity Commission’s report on GST has cast a dark cloud of uncertainty over the State Budget.

The Treasurer was unable to answer multiple questions about how much GST revenue Tasmania could expect to receive.

Shadow Treasurer Scott Bacon said Tasmanians should be alarmed that Treasurer Gutwein has accepted Malcolm Turnbull at his word without seeing the GST report.

This morning the Treasurer went into opposition mode, seemingly oblivious to the fact he is in Government and it is his responsibility to deliver the budget.

“All we are asking for is straight answers to straight questions,” Mr Bacon said.

“How will this GST uncertainty be dealt with and what measures does Peter Gutwein have in place to plan for a reduction in GST revenue?

“Labor and business commentators including Saul Eslake agree that any change to the GST methodology could have a crippling impact on Tasmanian public services but the Treasurer is unable to explain how he can frame a budget in those circumstances.

“This morning the Treasurer had a chance to give Tasmanians certainty around GST and the future of the Tasmanian Budget.

“Instead we saw him dodge questioning and fall back on tired old lines he has been using for the past nine years.”

To be clear, the questions for the Treasurer are:

  • Why hasn’t he seen the productivity commission report into GST?
  • Why hasn’t he been standing up for Tasmania on GST while Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison has welcomed a cavalcade of West Australian government and business leaders to his offices?
  • Exactly what reassurances have the Treasurer and the Premier sought from the PM that Tasmania will receive its fair share?
  • Considering 40 per cent of the State Budget is dependent on GST, how much GST revenue will Tasmania receive in 2021-22?
  • Why has average annual expenditure grown from 2.6% from 2010 to 2014; to up to 4.5% from 2014 to 2018 with no improvements to services?
  • Can he guarantee Moody’s will restore Tasmania’s AA1 credit rating that he lost in 2016?
  • Can he name a single economic reform he has delivered since coming to Government?
  • How big will the underlying deficit in the Budget be?