Time for our fair share of federal funds


TASMANIA is grossly under- funded for a state supposedly an integral part of the federation.

We don't get our share and never have. If we enjoyed the barest population share of the $376 billion available in total federal budget outlays for 2012-13 we would get almost $10 billion in federal funding each year, but of course we don't.

The biggest single pot of money available is our welfare payments, GST share and other grants, which total $5billion at best. Beyond that you would struggle to cobble together another billion in recurrent receipts.

The next time you get a chance, ask your federal member or senator why.

Yesterday's labour force figures show how all other states and territories are enjoying robust economic times. With unemployment on 7 per cent we're way above the 5.1 per cent national average.

The states and territories with the big share of federal outlays are the ones moderately humming. The Northern Territory mysteriously has an unemployment rate of just 3.8 per cent and a labour force activity rate of almost 75 per cent, compared with our 60.3 per cent.

South Australia, the nearest to Tasmania in comparative size, has an unemployment rate of 5.5 per cent and a participation rate of almost 63 per cent, because that's where the government located Australia's multibillion-dollar submarine construction authority - building subs that often don't work.

The states and territories enjoy a year-round festival of federal funding, except of course the poor orphan state, with no political clout and no thought from Canberra about giving us a fairer share of that massive pool of $376billion.

With a federal election due later this year the major parties will patronise us with a "Tasmanian package". A few morsels and bones thrown for us to pick over.

We should settle for nothing less than the relocation of substantial federal functions to Tasmania. Apart from frontline defence bases up north, why do Commonwealth facilities have to be everywhere except Tasmania?

The simple answer is politics, and where the bulk of the votes are. We need fighters among our 17 overly pampered and underworked federal MPs, who should find this situation unacceptable.


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