Giddings coy on cuts after $80m GST loss

PREMIER Lara Giddings has refused to say whether services will be cut as a result of an $80 million hit to the state's GST revenue over the next four years.

The federal Coalition government's mid-year economic and fiscal outlook, released yesterday, revealed national GST revenue was shrinking.

As a result, Ms Giddings said Tasmania would lose $80 million over the forward estimates, but it was not yet clear how that would be absorbed.

"We will have to look at all of these issues within the budget process in the lead-up to the election, but I can tell you what, we're not out there making a whole lot of extravagant promises like Will Hodgman is," Ms Giddings said.

The federal government's budget update also revealed a program assisting former forestry workers find new jobs will be one of the first casualties of the dire budget situation.

Almost $2.4 million in federal funding for ForestWorks has been scrapped.

More than 580 people affected by the forestry downturn have been helped to find full-time work with at least another 60 people still on the books.

"The Coalition has effectively thrown these people on the scrap heap," Deputy Premier Bryan Green said.

Tasmanian Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck, who is parliamentary secretary to the Agriculture Minister, said the forest workers' assistance program was a duplication of existing job provider services.

"Bryan Green put these people in the job queue with his disastrous forestry policy. We have a plan to fix the mess," Senator Colbeck said.

In response to the worrying forecasts of slowing economic growth nationally, Ms Giddings yesterday announced a cabinet subcommittee would be formed to identify and assist major projects.

The Premier will chair the new committee, which does not include either of the two Green ministers.

It will include Mr Green, Economic Development Minister David O'Byrne and Environment Minister Brian Wightman.

Ms Giddings said one of the committee's key roles would be to ensure the numerous permits required for the pulp mill were still valid.

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