Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 14 October 2009) . . Page.. 4440 ..
receipts should be reduced. According to the commission’s website, the ACT has not made any further submission on this conclusion. Treasurer, how much will the ACT lose if this conclusion is adopted, and why didn’t the ACT make a further submission on this most significant area of funding for the ACT?
MS GALLAGHER: The draft report indicated a number of decisions by the Commonwealth Grants Commission and a number of changes to the distributions across a whole range of areas across government service delivery. The view of the commission has not been finalised. The ACT government is still in contact with the commission. Indeed, there are follow-up discussions to be had that I am aware of in the next few weeks, which cover a whole range of areas. I am very confident that Treasury is arguing very strongly in terms of the discussions that I have had with them to make sure that whatever losses we have in particular areas are picked up in other areas, based on data and evidence, because that is the way these decisions will be made.
At the end of the day, we want to ensure that we get a fair deal in terms of distribution of GST revenue. There are a whole range of arguments that have been put forward. I am not standing here pretending to have detailed understanding or knowledge of every single argument that has been had over the past five years in relation to the review of the GST relativities. But I am very confident that, where there are arguments to ameliorate losses, or indeed to generate positive results for the territory, those arguments have been put forward by ACT Treasury.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Seselja, a supplementary question?
MR SESELJA: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Treasurer, what response has the ACT made to the submission from New South Wales that “cross-border assessments only be made where there is sufficient reliable data to demonstrate the cross-border effect”?
MS GALLAGHER: In relation to the cross-border effect, and if we are relating to health, there is extremely reliable data to support the ACT government’s claims, outside of the GST. The majority of the cross-border payments do not occur through the GST Commonwealth Grants Commission process; they occur through the New South Wales-ACT cross-border arrangement. But in terms of reliable data I can assure the opposition that the data the ACT has to demonstrate our arguments around costs and the true costs of providing services to people in New South Wales is excellent.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Smyth, a supplementary question?
MR SMYTH: Treasurer, what action are you taking to ensure that the ACT receives proper recognition across broader activities that are funded by ACT taxpayers?
MS GALLAGHER: We are doing it through our engagement with this process and we have been doing it for the past five years. If the opposition have any evidence or anything at all to demonstrate that we are not doing what we are required to do in terms of ensuring the best deal for the people of the ACT, I suggest they demonstrate that with their own evidence or data to support the claims that they obviously hold quite strongly.