It’s a particularly special day when Josh Frydenberg offers an additional $9 billion in GST top payments and still manages to get every state and territory Treasurer united against him, but that’s exactly what happened today.
Scott Morrison promised as Treasurer in early July that no state would be worse off under the GST distribution changes, but he’s been called out this week for the Government’s legislation failing to match this guarantee.
This is what some of the State Treasurers said today about Josh Frydenberg’s attempt to get their support for Commonwealth legislation without a guarantee that no state would be worse off:
From NSW Liberal Treasurer, Dominic Perrottet:
“What I don’t accept is change in the GST model which will make states worse off. We believe this legislation will do just that.
“That’s why every treasurer from every state and territory across the country today (is) united in our view that if this legislation is to be passed, there needs to be an amendment to ensure in law that no state or territory will be worse off as a result of this change.”
From South Australian Liberal Treasurer, Rob Lucas:
“South Australia’s position is that we will not support the Commonwealth’s legislation, the Commonwealth Parliament, unless there is an amendment to put the guarantee in place.”
From Tasmanian Liberal Treasurer, Peter Gutwein:
“We want the guarantee that was promised…”
We believe that it is very important that a guarantee be put in place, and legislated, to ensure that under any circumstance, the state would be no worse off. I think it is pleasing that as a group of treasurers that we are all in agreement on that particular point, including WA.”
From Victorian Labor Treasurer, Tim Pallas:
“So all states and territories, and can I reinforce that — all states and territories — have agreed to the principle that we need these guarantees incorporated into legislation. We stand united on this issue, and our intention is to continue the process of lobbying to ensure the guarantee that the Prime Minister was more than happy to absolutely give — those are his word, that absolutely nobody would be worse off — that those words are enshrined in legislation. That’s the sort of absolute surety that we need in order to manage our budgets. The alternative could be financially catastrophic and I don’t believe that the citizens of any state, or, should I say, the people who depend upon proper budget management, would see this as a fair or appropriate thing without the guarantees that have already been given being given real teeth.”
From QLD Labor Treasurer, Jackie Trad:
“That is that we need to put in law the commitment made by the former Treasurer, now the Prime Minister, that no state will be disadvantaged because of the changes in the GST distribution methodology. Work has been undertaken by other jurisdictions and I do want to thank the Victorian Treasurer and the Victorian treasury for the work that they’ve done around modelling various scenarios.
“There is a real risk, a very real risk, that if the changes that are articulated in legislation from the Commonwealth government are brought into existence without a guarantee, then some jurisdictions will be worse off under certain conditions. We cannot prepare or forecast or model every single scenario, which in order to look at the promise given by Scott Morrison, that absolutely no jurisdiction would be worse off, we are seeking an amendment to the legislation that makes that commitment law, and every single jurisdiction is at one on this issue.”