Queensland fights for fairer GST allocation

The Palaszczuk Government has called out the Turnbull Government’s proposed GST rip off, highlighting that the changes under consideration will strip more than $1.5 billion from Queenslanders.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Productivity Commission, who will conduct public hearings in Queensland today, doesn’t understand Queensland.

“I will be telling Malcolm Turnbull at COAG this week that his GST reform plan is completely unacceptable. It is clear that if it is allowed to happen, Queensland will pay the heaviest price,” the Premier said.

“Ripping $1.5 billion out of the Budget is akin to losing 5,000 teachers, 5,000 nurses, 3,000 police officers and 1,135 firefighters.

“Queensland is the only state in Australia where more than 50% of the population lives outside of the capital.

“The proposed reforms utterly fail to appropriately recognise just how vast and decentralised Queensland is; our large Indigenous population, the high costs of service delivery and the regularity of natural disaster.”

Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad, who will appear at the Commission’s hearing today, said the proposed changes would create an unacceptable and unreasonable loss of services across the state.

“Our current funding allocation is complex, but it gives all states and territories the capacity to deliver high quality infrastructure and services across the state, no matter when they live,” Ms Trad said.

“The Commission’s proposed reforms would result in some states being able to deliver better services than others.

“The cost to provide public hospital services to acute patients for example are around 40% higher in very remote parts of Queensland compared to Brisbane, so states where the population is more centralized would be significantly advantaged.

Ms Trad also highlighted the hypocrisy of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation appearing at the committee to argue that Queensland should be stripped of funding.

“It is unbelievable that One Nation would have the gall to come to Brisbane and say that $1.5bn should be taken from Queenslanders every year,” Ms Trad said.

“They may say that to the Productivity Commission behind closed doors but I dare Pauline Hanson to say to the people in regional Queensland that they don’t deserve the same services as the city.

“These are the people that the LNP and Deb Frecklington wanted to form government with. The question has to be asked – do the LNP and One Nation support Queenslanders being ripped off?

“Our government is open to discussing tax reform, but not at the expense of services to Queensland families.

“Simply taking billions of dollars from Queensland and giving it to other States is not tax reform, it is ripping Queensland off.”

The details of the Queensland Government’s submissions to the Productivity Commission can be accessed at: http://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/current/horizontal-fiscal-equalisation/submissions

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