Territory Stories

Debates Day 6 - Thursday 19 October 2017



Debates Day 6 - Thursday 19 October 2017

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Parliamentary Record 8


Debates for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2018; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES Thursday 19 October 2017 2691 That brings me to the CLP stance on the GST cuts and further reductions we can expect if the federal Treasurer supports the Productivity Commissions proposal to remove equity as the corne rstone of the GST revenue distribution. The CLPs stance on this issue has changed a bit but, to be fair, it started off really well. Five months before the GST cuts were announced in a much-trumpeted trip, the Opposition Leader travelled to Canberra with the Deputy Opposition Leader on 7 November 2016, as the NT News put it, to argue against changes to the GST allocations proposed by the Turnbull government. The Leader of the Opposition was quoted saying at the time: At stake is revenue to fund our schools, resource hospitals and build and maintain roads. Cuts to our GST would leave serious structural problems and have long-term impact on the capacity of the NT Government to deliver services and infrastructure. As Treasurer, I could not agree more. The CLP was on the right side of the argument. To give the Opposition Leader due credit, he was sticking up for the Territory and fighting the good fight. However, fast forward a few months to the weekend the federal Treasurer, Scott Morrison, ripped $2bn o ut of the Territory budget, and the Opposition Leader was still representing the constituents of the Northern Territory. On 26 March he told the NT News: The $2 b illion GST cut is not a Gunner Labor Government problem, its a Northern Territory problem. In the same article he went on to give the federal Treasurer, Scott Morrison, a few words for going back on his word about funding for the Northern Territory. The Opposition Leader said: Last year I secured a commitment from the federal Treasurer not to amend the GST relativities. It is safe to say that we all know the federal Treasurer would have thought of those comments, given we know how the GST is calculated. One minute the Opposition Leader is saying the $2bn cut is not a Gunner Labor government p roblem but a Northern Territory Government problem, and the next minute there is a very quick jump in stance. In Question Time on 3 May, when they were questioning whether or not the $2bn cut was a problem at all, he started the question by saying: You have continually claimed that this years GST shortfall will be $385m, a figure you used to get to $2bn. He went on to claim that I misled Territorians about the seriousness of the problem, but as I mentioned earlier, not only did the federal governments own budget papers confirm the $2bn shortfall, it was actually higher. We need the Opposition Leader championing the Northern Territory and the issues for Territorians and not the lines of the federal counterparts in Canberra. We need to be working together to stand up for the Northern Territory and our fair share of the GST. After the GST cuts were announced, Senator Nigel Scullionthe only Territorian with a voice in the federal Cabinetappeared as if he had lost the ability to talk at all. In the days after the devastating news, the CLPs most senior politician could not be found, leading to one of the most severe editorials I have seen in the NT News, saying: Nigel Scullion has one chance to save his job. Otherwise he must go. His get-out-of-jail card could be played if he manages to convince Treasurer Scott Morrison to go against the decision of the Commonwealth Grants Commission. He did no such thing and has been quiet with regard to the Productivity Commissions proposal which, if introduced, could sentence the Northern Territory to permanent financial hardship. Senator Scullion is sitting in the federal Cabinet, and it is important that he stands up for the Northern Territory and our fair share of the GST. This is not an issue he can be quiet about. He is the minister who is working on renegotiations for NPARIH.

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