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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (3 September) . . Page.. 1886 ..

MR STANHOPE: I accept that, Mr Speaker, absolutely. In asking my supplementary question, I note that I am aware of the suppression order that covers the proceedings in the Magistrates Court and I note that I do not know the details. I assume the Attorney does. Accepting that, can the Minister, under the terms of that order, tell the Assembly under what section of which Act the proceedings before the Magistrates Court were initiated?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I am not aware that I can answer that question without being in breach of the suppression order.

Goods and Services Tax

MR QUINLAN: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister and Treasurer. Budget papers put out this year estimate that grants received from the Commonwealth for the year 2000-01 will be $616m.

Ms Carnell: Based upon current deals.

MR QUINLAN: Right. Of that, we can be reasonably assured that about $166m would come from specific purpose grants, which we would continue to get under a GST. That would leave a balance of $450m. Recently published figures under your name, Chief Minister, show that the Office of Financial Management estimated our take from the GST at $450m - something of a coincidence. Can we have some insight into the logic used by the Office of Financial Management to estimate our take from the GST?

MS CARNELL: Thank you very much for the question, Mr Quinlan. The $450m is the estimate of what Canberrans would pay in GST, based upon such things as retail sales, service sales, and so on and so forth. The basis of the figures that I gave was that the ACT would be better off in terms of about $200m in tax cuts. In other words, ACT taxpayers would pay some $200m less, so that would be in their back pocket. As I think I said in answer to a question yesterday, there would be some $70m not paid in some eight or nine ACT taxes such as FID and BAD that would be abolished. Then wholesale sales tax would be abolished. All of those things would add up to some $600m. You have to take away from that the amount that would be paid in GST on things like retail sales, service delivery and so on, which was estimated at some $450m. That made the ACT some $150m better off under the GST package.

MR QUINLAN: I ask a supplementary question. In terms of government revenue, in embracing the GST are we actually putting complete faith in a combination of the Grants Commission and the Howard Government to look after Canberra?

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, the ACT has two forms of revenue. One is own-source revenue, as Mr Quinlan, I assume, knows, because they have spent the last week attempting to undermine our own-source revenue. That makes up about half of our revenue. The other half comes from the Commonwealth in the forms of, at the moment, financial assistance grants and SPPs. They make up the other half, give or take a bit.

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