Scott Morrison is making his first visit to Tasmania as Prime Minister. (ABC News: Nick Haggarty)
The Government’s rejected a suggested model for the GST — here’s what they want to do instead
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will address Tasmania’s Liberal Party faithful in Hobart today, but friction between state and federal Liberals over the GST is likely to be the elephant in the room.
- Tasmania is pushing for a “no worse off” guarantee to ensure it receives no less GST in the future
- Some modelling shows Tasmania could lose out if Western Australia returns to a mining boom
- The Liberal Party will discuss a range of issues at its two-day conference in Hobart
Mr Morrison is in town for the annual Liberal State Council in Bellerive, where members will gather to discuss policy motions and hear from party leaders.
But just days ago Tasmanian Treasurer Peter Gutwein criticised Mr Morrison’s planned legislation to change the GST distribution method, saying it needs amendment and that Tasmania could not and would not support it in its current form.
The Federal Government has said Tasmania would be $112 million better off under the changed distribution method, but Mr Gutwein has released Treasury modelling which shows that if Western Australia was to return to a mining boom — such as for lithium which has been suggested by economist Saul Eslake — Tasmania could end up losing $248 million by 2026-27.
Other scenarios modelled show a possible loss of $125 million based on a return to 10-year average relativities, or a gain of $90 million if relativities are stable.
Mr Gutwein wants a legislated “no worse off” guarantee, to ensure no state or territory could receive less GST in future than what the current system would provide, and his position was supported by other state treasurers.
Treasurer Peter Gutwein and Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman have raised the GST issue with the PM. (ABC News: James Dunlevie)
However, the Federal Government has rejected the clause, and plans to bring on its legislation during the next session of Parliament despite Tasmania’s objection.
On Friday, Mr Morrison was joined by Premier Will Hodgman in Queenstown for his first visit to Tasmania as Prime Minister, spruiking the completed NBN rollout for Queenstown and Rosebery.
Mr Hodgman told reporters GST was the first issue he raised with Mr Morrison.
“No surprise to the Prime Minister that a state premier would be wanting to ensure that we are not disadvantaged by any changes to the GST,” Mr Hodgman said.
Mr Morrison was asked why he would not support the Tasmanian Government’s push for a “no worse off” legislated guarantee, Mr Morrison said he had instead provided a “better-off guarantee”.
“We’re going to continue to work constructively with the Tasmanian Government, as the Premier and I have been discussing today,” Mr Morrison said.
Liberal Party members will debate a range of issues during the two-day state council, including banning members from groups such as GetUp from handing out how-to-vote cards on federal polling days, ensuring that “radical gender ideology” is not taught in schools, privatising the ABC, withdrawing from the Paris climate change agreement, and requesting the State Government reconsider selling the Treasury Building.
Mr Hodgman will address the event on Sunday.