GST change `concern for state'

TASMANIA'S federal opposition members have called on the government to rule out any changes to the GST distribution in the wake of an independent report that made 86 recommendations to get the budget back into black.

Julie Collins

Julie Collins

Franklin Labor MHR Julie Collins said changes to the GST carve-up flagged in the report were ``the most concerning'' for the state.

``Any change to the GST could cost Tasmania more than $700 million a year,'' Ms Collins said.

``What we've seen with this Commission of Audit is the federal government getting ready to break its promises,'' she said.

Bass Liberal MHR Andrew Nikolic said the opposition was running a scare campaign.

``Julie Collins is the last person in the world who should be passing commentary on keeping promises,'' Mr Nikolic said.

Mr Nikolic defended the report and said spending was ``unsustainable'', but the government would keep all of its promises.

``We need to take all steps to fix it,'' Mr Nikolic said.

``It's about getting spending back under control,'' he said.

Ms Collins said tough choices needed to be made, but ``not at the expense of the Tasmanian economy''.

The report recommended scrapping the Bass Strait freight and passenger subsidies and a large industry assistance package for Cadbury, which have since both been ruled out by the government. 

``We'd like to see other recommendations that are scaring Tasmanians ruled out immediately,'' Ms Collins said.

Mr Nikolic said it would be known on budget night which of the recommendations would be implemented.

One recommendation still on the cards would force young job seekers to relocate to a higher employment area after a year of receiving the Newstart allowance.

Ms Collins said if implemented, the policy would ``adversely affect the Tasmanian economy''.

Australian Council of Social Service chief executive Cassandra Goldie said forcing young people to move was not the right move.


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