Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (1 September) . . Page.. 1627 ..
MS CARNELL (continuing):
On top of this, the abolition of FID, debits tax and various stamp duties levied by the ACT would inject a further $70m into the economy. OFM have estimated that more than $300m worth of wholesale sales taxes are passed on to ACT consumers every year. All up, about $600m worth of tax reductions would be injected into the ACT economy.
Offsetting this is a new GST which OFM estimates would raise about $450m here in the ACT. The net effect of the tax package therefore would be to provide a stimulus of about $150m for the ACT economy, which is a large amount of money. I am advised that this does not include the effect of increases in social security payments and family package benefits, which of course are very difficult for us to estimate as we do not have access to Federal Government databases. It is also worth pointing out that the Federal Government has also guaranteed that funding to States and Territories in aggregate will be maintained for the first three years under the new arrangements. It is estimated that by then the GST revenue flowing to the States and Territories would be growing strongly enough to provide more funding than would have been given under the current system.
Mr Speaker, I think it is important to deal with a couple of red herrings here. First, there is Mr Quinlan's claim that the ACT has been treated unfairly by the Commonwealth in its funding formula and that there is no reason to believe that the new funding formula for distributing the GST would be any better. Mr Quinlan said, "Yes, that is what I said". Mr Quinlan does not seem to realise - - -
Mr Quinlan: That is the John Stone view.
MS CARNELL: John Stone wanted to abolish the ACT. I really put a lot of credibility in him! I would not quote him. I find it fascinating that those opposite would quote somebody who wanted to abolish the ACT - not the Government but the whole ACT.
Mr Stanhope: A member of your party, Chief Minister.
MS CARNELL: You quoted him, not me. Mr Quinlan does not seem to realise that there is a Commonwealth Grants Commission that oversees the so-called funding formula for the States and Territories. The Grants Commission will continue to do that job, regardless of whether we have a Liberal or a Labor Federal government. I am pleased that Mr Quinlan has acknowledged how unfairly the ACT has been treated by the Commonwealth. As he should know, our funding has been cut in real terms by almost 50 per cent.
Mr Hird: How much?
MS CARNELL: Fifty per cent since self-government. Can Mr Quinlan remember who was in government federally for seven of the nine years? For seven of the nine years when funding was cut to the ACT by 50 per cent in real terms, it was the Labor Party. What has the wonderful Labor Party offered the States and Territories in its tax package, the one that Mr Quinlan came out and supported?