Australia Come clean on GST before poll: SA premier

12:14  09 january  2018
12:14  09 january  2018 Source:   MSN

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South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill has demanded the release of a final report from an inquiry into the GST revenue carve-up before his state goes to the polls .

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill has demanded the release of a final report from an inquiry into the GST revenue carve-up before his state goes to the polls . The Productivity Commission had been due to hand in the report this month recommending changes to the carve-up of GST but Treasurer

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South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill has demanded the release of a final report from an inquiry into the GST revenue carve-up before his state goes to the polls.

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The Productivity Commission had been due to hand in the report this month recommending changes to the carve-up of GST but Treasurer Scott Morrison has extended the deadline to May 15, a week after the federal budget and two months after the SA election.

Jay Weatherill © AAP Image/Lukas Coch Jay Weatherill

"We are deeply suspicious of the decision to defer this report," Mr Weatherill told reporters in Adelaide on Tuesday.

Under the proposed changes South Australia would be worse off by $557 million each year, Mr Weatherill said.

He said that was equal to cutting 5300 teachers, or 5000 nurses, or 4300 police officers or 2400 doctors.

"The scale of it is just absolutely gargantuan," the premier said.

Acting federal Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek said there was only one reason for the delay in releasing the report.

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"That's because every state and territory bar WA will lose and lose big time under the proposals in the draft report," she told reporters.

Ms Plibersek said the federal opposition recognised that Western Australia had a problem as a result of the excessive spending by the previous Liberal government.

But she said Labor's plan was to provide $1.6 billion in funding for infrastructure projects

"No state is going to be worse off but Western Australia will get $1.6 billion," Ms Pilbersek said.

The draft report released in October found the present system means states and territories have a disincentive to undertake positive changes to their tax systems and make the most of the resources and minerals they have.

It recommended resetting the system, from "full" equalisation - now interpreted as bringing everyone up to the fiscal standard of the strongest state - to a more practical objective of "reasonable".

Western Australia has been particularly critical of the current distribution system because its share has sunk as low as 30 cents in the dollar of GST revenue due to the state's prior strength from the mining boom.

South Australian opposition treasury spokesman Rob Lucas said there was no political motive behind the delay to the final report, with the request for more time coming from the commission.

He said the SA Liberals would not support any changes that disadvantaged South Australia.

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