FEDERAL Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has again tried to reassure Tasmanians the state's ``special circumstances'' will be factored in to any decisions about the carve up of the GST, but won't say what changes a Coalition government will make.
The Liberal leader dodged questions on the issue yesterday morning during a quick visit to the state's South.
He is under pressure from rich Liberal-led states to make sweeping changes to the system which Labor is warning could cost Tasmania up to $600 million a year in GST revenue.
Mr Abbott said he fully understood West Australian Premier Colin Barnett's demands for a greater share of the tax revenue, but promised to ensure Tasmania wasn't worse off.
``In the end it is a matter for the Commonwealth Grants Commission to determine these things,'' Mr Abbott said.
He called on the government to announce its response to the results of a review of the distribution system completed in November which endorsed the current system.
``Once the government has responded the Coalition will be in a good position to say what we think should happen,'' Mr Abbott said yesterday.
A spokesman for Treasurer Wayne Swan said Treasury was reviewing the recommendations and preparing a detailed analysis and response.
``The states that are advocating a large change to the system for their own benefit are going to have to accept the independent review found the current system works very well,'' he said.
Mr Abbott also defended the Coalition's $400 million plan to duplicate the Midland Highway which Tasmania's Infrastructure Minister David O'Byrne has criticised as grossly underfunded.
Mr Abbott said the price tag had been based on informal conversations with engineers.
``In the end it will be up to the state government as the immediately responsible authority to ensure that the thing is designed and built for the best possible price,'' Mr Abbott said.
He also vowed not to lock up anymore of Tasmania's forests and blamed the industry's woes on the policies of Labor-Green governments at state and federal levels.