Tasmanian Labor Senator Helen Polley has called on the new Member for Bass Andrew Nikolic to clarify whether he supports calls from Coalition Premiers and Treasurers to alter the GST revenue distribution formula.
Yesterday both Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls and Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett said that they would like GST revenue to be distributed on an equal per-capita share basis. This would result in all states receiving revenue proportionate to their populations.
“It’s time for Mr Nikolic to come clean on his views concerning the GST because it is a matter of vital importance to the people of Bass who rely on this revenue source to provide the services they desperately need.
“Tony Abbott and senior Coalition figures consistently accused Labor of telling lies about this issue right through the election campaign. Well Mr Abbott has only just been sworn in as Prime Minister and already his state counterparts are clamoring for him to make changes to the GST formula. This is the problem with saying different things to different audiences to suit their immediate interests, eventually it comes back to bite you.
“The question is whether Tony Abbott will sacrifice places like Tasmania, including Bass, to satisfy demands from Premiers and Treasurers in Coalition held states like Queensland and Western Australia,” Senator Polley said.
Senator Polley was also quick to outline what a change to GST revenue distribution could mean for Bass and Tasmania as a whole.
“A per-capita distribution model would favour the larger, resource rich states and really cost Tasmania. If you are to take $600 million out of the Tasmania budget that will mean slashing 3000 nurses, 800 doctors, 500 teachers and 100 child protection staff.
“Is this something that Mr Nikolic wants for his new home? I think the people of Bass deserve better,” Senator Polley said.