The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of David Bradbury

David Bradbury

Assistant Treasurer, Minister Assisting for Financial Services & Superannuation and Minister for Competition Policy & Consumer Affairs

5 March 2012 - 18 September 2013

Media Release of 02/05/2013

NO.060

Abbott's 'unambiguous' GST plan: take money away from Tasmania

Tony Abbott has today told Tasmanians that his GST policy is 'unambiguous' - leaving Tasmanians in no doubt that they will be left worse off under a Coalition Government.

In a letter to today's Launceston Examiner, Mr Abbott said:

Our policy is clear, simple and unambiguous.

[LAUNCESTON EXAMINER - 2 MAY 2013]

The only 'clear, simple and unambiguous' thing about Mr Abbott's GST policy is the fact that he is determined to give more GST revenue to Western Australia. The only way he can do that is to jack up the rate of the GST or rip money away from States like Tasmania.

We know, for example, that Mr Abbott supports a move towards a per capita distribution of the GST, which would have the effect of ripping away $600 million in funding for Tasmania:

"I think that it does seem quite unfair that the people of Western Australia get so little back for the GST revenue that they provide to the rest of the country.

"I think that what ought to be very seriously considered by the government right now is the proposal that all the Liberal states have put up, that the GST revenue should be distributed on what is closer to a per capita arrangement.

"This is the unified position of the Coalition premiers. I think it makes a lot of sense."

[THE AUSTRALIAN - 1 MAY 2012]

Even his own Tasmanian Senator, Eric Abetz, is in lock-step with Mr Abbott:

"What Tony Abbott has said is that he is willing to consider a closer arrangement to a per capita - so not a per capita basis - but closer to." 

[ERIC ABETZ - SOUTHERN CROSS NEWS - 11 MARCH 2013]

And Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey last year gave the States the green light to push the case for a change in the GST:

"If you are going to have a discussion about changing the GST the states have to lead the argument because they are the ones that need the revenue."

[DOORSTOP - 20 JULY 2012]

The Government opposes any change to the rate or base of the GST and the Government commissioned an independent review of GST distribution which found the current system of Horizontal Fiscal Equalisation works well.

If Tony Abbott wants to be unambiguous about GST he needs to stand alongside Colin Barnett and give a rock solid commitment the current system will remain in place under a Coalition Government. Until he does this, Tasmanians should be left in no doubt: the Coalition's 'unambiguous' policy on the GST is to oversee a redistribution that would see Tasmania worse off.

2 May 2013