Fed­eral Govt’s hands tied on State’s GST pop­u­la­tion pain

Pilbara News - - News - Dy­lan Ca­porn and Shane Wright

The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment has re­vealed it can not in­ter­vene to fix a $2 bil­lion hole in the State’s fi­nances, de­liv­er­ing WA Trea­surer Ben Wy­att a big fis­cal headache ahead of his first Bud­get next month.

Fed­eral Trea­surer Scott Mor­ri­son said that, legally, his hands were tied when it came to chang­ing the way the Com­mon­wealth Grants Com­mis­sion used pop­u­la­tion fig­ures to dis­trib­ute GST rev­enue to the States and Ter­ri­to­ries.

Pop­u­la­tion es­ti­mates from the Aus­tralian Bureau of Sta­tis­tics had re­duced the num­ber of WA res­i­dents by 60,000. That will trans­late into $2 bil­lion less over the next four years be­cause of the way pop­u­la­tion fig­ures are used by the com­mis­sion to de­ter­mine an­nual GST pay­ments.

Mr Mor­ri­son said laws pre­vented him from di­rect­ing the com­mis­sion to al­ter the way it used the pop­u­la­tion fig­ures.

How­ever, Mr Mor­ri­son said the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment had shown through pre­vi­ous pay­ments that it un­der­stood the prob­lems faced by WA when it came to the GST.

“We now need to ... have an en­dur­ing so­lu­tion to that,” he said.

Pic­ture: Michael Wil­son

Trea­surer Ben Wy­att is fac­ing a fis­cal headache.

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