Push to strip Tasmania of federal funds

PREMIER Will Hodgman has vowed to fight any federal moves to cut funding to Tasmania following calls by an influential federal government adviser to cut the state adrift.

Will Hodgman

Will Hodgman

Business Advisory Council chairman Maurice Newman has called on the bigger states to demand Prime Minister Tony Abbott stop propping up Tasmania and South Australia.

The West Australian government has argued that the GST be based on population, which would rob Tasmania of about $700 million a year.

Mr Newman was quoted in a Queensland newspaper saying that Tasmania had $5 billion in unfunded pension liabilities for the public service and 7.7 per cent unemployment and had been ``locking up forests, locking up fisheries'' as it was propped up by Canberra.

Mr Newman made the comments at the Committee for Economic Development of Australia meeting last week.

Mr Hodgman said he ``categorically'' rejected any suggestion that the state's federal funding should be cut.

``It is true that under 16 years of Labor and the Greens, our economy was brought to its knees, our forest industry was deliberately destroyed, and the $1.5 billion fund set aside for the superannuation of public servants was looted by Labor to pay for their reckless spending,'' Mr Hodgman said.

``The new Liberal government is getting on with the job of fixing up the economic and financial mess left by the previous Labor-Green government - reopening the state for business, ripping up the job-destroying forest deal and fixing the budget.''

Bass Liberal MHR Andrew Nikolic said the states did need a reality check and could not continue on a debt-laden path, but Tasmanians recently voted for a new government and the state should be given time to make reforms.

Opposition Leader Bryan Green called on the state government to ensure Tasmania did not face further cuts from the federal government. 

Mr Green said Mr Hodgman must respond in the ``strongest manner possible''.

``This [Maurice Newman] is a man with the ear of the Prime Minister and he's telling him to ditch Tasmania,'' he said.

``This state has already copped massive cuts to health and education in the federal budget. How many more times does Mr Abbott want to lay the boots into Tasmania?''

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