Territory Stories

Debates Day 6 - Thursday 19 October 2017



Debates Day 6 - Thursday 19 October 2017

Other title

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





Publisher name

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

Place of publication


File type



Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

DEBATES Thursday 19 October 2017 2725 The argument by Western Australia runs counter to the whole principle of the introduction of the GST in horizontal fiscal equalisation. It is a federal tax. It is used to pay for improved services across the country, delivered directly to states for the purpose of the Australian Government. It is not a state tax. There has never been a tax distributed where it was collected. It has been distributed on the principle of funding the equitable delivery of services. I agree with points made by other premiers that the Commonwealth should have a stake in the GST. I think that is reasonable. At the moment the Commonwealth collect the GST but it has no incentive to audit, follow-up and make sure the GST is being properly collected and maximised. I was in Alice Springs the other day and Andrew Kittle made the point that if they sell a car through their car yard, new or second hand, they collect GST and pay it. If a private citizen sells a car to another citizen, no GST is collected on that transaction. Is that still how we should be doing the GST? The Australian Government does not care because it does not get any of it. The argument has been put that the GSTperhaps through a share of income tax if that is the simplest way to do a swap. Then the Australian Government has some ownership of the GST. It has some skin in the game. It is collecting some of it. In doing that it does not damage HFE, the funding for services of Australians. It makes sure we continue to maximise how the GST works. There is some reasonableness to that. The difference today is that we have an Australian Government that is clinging on by one seat. There is a High Court decision pending about that seat. We may soon have Deputy Prime Minister Nigel Scullion. We will call on the minister, potentially the Deputy Prime Minister, to represent Territorians in this debate by making sure equitable services and quality of services is maintained, and that what is happening now is stopped. We want the potential Deputy Prime Minister, current minister in the Cabinet, to argue for the Northern Territory. The argument is very clear. There is no dispute about what is in the best interest of the Territory. We want to see the potential Deputy Prime Minister making the argument on behalf of the Northern Territory. That is the domain of the Northern TerritorySenator Nigel Scullion to argue for the Northern Territory and make sure this does not happen. We understand that all parliamentarians have half an eye on politics but I do not accept that this should be done at the loss of the nations long-term future, the loss of what we are as a country, which is what happens when you attack horizontal fiscal equalisation. It will damage us as a country. It is unbelievable that an Australian Government is considering this. That goes to why we cannot accept the amendments that have been put forward by the opposition about changing it from the federal Treasurer to the Productivity Commission. This was done at the direction of the federal Treasurer. There is no doubt about that. We have seen the commentary from the federal Treasurer about what he wants to do. The Australian Government has gone down this path and the Productivity Commission is purely its vehicle. It is the Australian Government that will make this decision and owns this. We are one Australia, and the Australian Government needs to recognise that. This has to be about the Australian Government. It has also tried to rope the Opposition Leader in on this. The federal Labor Party has come out with a completely different policy that protects HFE. It has nothing to do with this. It has come up with an alternative solution for the concerns of Western Australia. The Australian Government can embrace that or not. It can come up with a different solution that does not destroy us as a country. It is clear that the Australian Government is on this path regarding the HFE. It has directed this traffic. This motion is directed at the Australian Government. It is running the show and making decisions that will damage us as a country. We need to send this message to the Australian Government from the Northern Territory Chamber. That is why we cannot accept those amendments. This may be a little philosophical but you have to ask yourself what the federal government sees as the future of remote regions, like the Territory. If it goes down this path, are we just a site for mines? You grow some stuff here, you get some gas out of us. From current political debate that is how it sees usa collection of raw minerals and people who live here by accident. Our sole purpose is to fuel the southern economy.