Page 4347 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 13 October 2009

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heard and our submissions accepted on the merit of the data that is being presented, and there are many more discussions to follow before this is finalised. The opposition may have given up on this process, but there is a lot more work to be done between now and February.

Opposition members interjecting—

MS GALLAGHER: And guess what: no-one believes you.

Taxation—GST payments

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Treasurer, Mr Speaker, and relates to the draft report from the Commonwealth Grants Commission on the methodology into GST. In that report the Grants Commission has made a number of conclusions about the national capital allowances, particularly in this case with regard to volunteer firefighters. Treasurer, why has the commission concluded there should no longer be any allowance for the additional costs that are incurred because of the low number of volunteer firefighters?

MS GALLAGHER: I think I have answered the general thrust of this question. If the opposition are genuinely interested in this I am surprised they have not sought a briefing. I stand here and say I do not know the reasons the commission found for every single line of the discussions that they have had over the past five years. Guilty as charged. If there is genuine interest in this, which I severely doubt, because of the way that they have conducted this campaign, let them have a briefing to get their minds across it.

Mr Smyth: My mind is across it.

MS GALLAGHER: Mr Smyth has no questions about this because his mind is across it all. I would be very surprised. So you understand the arguments around community health then, do you? You understand the arguments around education? You understand the issues around New South Wales, do you? I would be very surprised if any of you understood the depth of the discussions that have been had. If there is genuine interest in this then I look forward to working with Mr Smyth in a bipartisan way to lobby the Commonwealth Grants Commission around the best interests of the ACT. That is the issue here. That is the issue that the opposition needs to support.

MR SPEAKER: Mrs Dunne, a supplementary question?

MRS DUNNE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Treasurer, what arguments did your agencies use to support the retention of the allowance for the low number of volunteer firefighters?

MS GALLAGHER: I am happy to provide the opposition with that information.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Burch?

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