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Unacceptable uncertainty for Tasmania as report on GST handed to Turnbull

  • Prime Minister and Premier have failed to provide any guarantee on future GST funding
  • Cormann being tricky on long-term certainty
  • Hodgman should be demanding immediate release of report and honesty for Tasmanians

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull must move immediately to tell Tasmanians if GST payments to the state will be cut after he today received the Productivity Commission report on GST distribution.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said Tasmanians deserved to know if crucial funding would be slashed because it would have a devastating effect on the State Government’s ability to fund essential services.

“The Federal Finance Minister Mathias Cormann provided no comfort and gave no guarantees around the future of our GST share when he was in Tasmania today, only confirming we would not lose the amount in the current Budget,” Ms White said.

“In fact, last week’s Federal Budget failed to provide any GST distribution certainty past next year and Tasmanians will not be reassured having a Minister from Western Australia telling them that we shouldn’t worry when he has consistently argued for a change to the GST.

“The ‘transitional payments’ promised by the Liberals are no substitute for reliable, consistent and independently assessed GST revenue.

“Premier Hodgman and Treasurer Gutwein have previously said that Tasmania stands to lose $1 billion over four years under the Productivity Commission’s suggested changes to the GST.*

“Now is the time for honesty and both the Premier and Treasurer should be demanding that Mr Turnbull present the details of the report to Tasmanians when he visits the state this week.

“These details need to be released now, not in a fortnight’s time, not in a month’s time.

“This is funding that is critical to Tasmania’s future ability to fund essential services like our health and hospital system, like our schools and education system.

“GST is worth  40 per cent of state revenue and if there is a reduction in Tasmania’s share, it will have a significant and wide-ranging effect on the ability to fund those essential services at a time when Tasmania is in the grip of an on-going health crisis and a housing crisis. “Tasmanians need and deserve certainty now.”

*ABC, 9 October 2017