Doorstop - Hobart

28 November 2017





SUBJECT: Tasmania’s fair share of the GST; Triple J Hottest 100.  


BRIAN MITCHELL, MEMBER FOR LYONS: Good morning, thanks for coming. We’re here today with Julie Collins the Member for Franklin and our good friend, Jim Chalmers the Shadow Minister for Finance, who is in Tasmania to talk about the issues that matter to Tasmanians and that’s the economy and Tasmania’s share of the GST. What we’ve heard from Scott Morrison, the Treasurer, is that Tasmania needs a transition plan away from the GST allocation. Tasmania doesn’t need a transition plan what we need is a guarantee that we will not suffer from cuts to the GST. The Productivity Commission has put out a report suggesting that Tasmania lose a billion dollars over four years and that is unacceptable to members of the Tasmanian Labor Party. Jim’s here to talk about our commitment to maintaining Tasmania’s share of the Federal funds. Thanks Jim.


JIM CHALMERS, SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCE: Thanks very much Brian. It’s terrific to be here with Brian and with Julie. Ordinarily we would be in Canberra serving the people of Tasmania and the people of Queensland but Malcolm Turnbull in his usual born to rule way has canned Parliament this week because he doesn’t want to face up to his colleagues in the party room. This Friday the Productivity Commission will be conducting a hearing, just around the corner, into Tasmania’s share of the GST as part of their broader consultation on the distribution of the GST in this country. I wanted to pay tribute to Brian and Julie and all the Tasmanian Labor colleagues. The Productivity Commission were not planning to come to Hobart to talk to local people about that draft report – they are now as a consequence of the advocacy, the characteristically strong advocacy, that Julie and Brian and other Tasmanian Labor colleagues have shown. Now, we say the same thing about the GST distribution in Hobart as we say in Perth as we say in Brisbane where I’m from. What we say is that WA has legitimate concerns about GST distribution but you don’t assist WA by ripping billions of dollars out of states like Tasmania. Neither Malcolm Turnbull nor Scott Morrison have so far been able to guarantee Tasmania its fair share of funding under the GST distribution. We call on Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison to guarantee a fair share of funding for Tasmania so that we can properly fund the schools and hospitals and services that the great people of Tasmania need and deserve. What we have is, and what the problem is, is that we have a divided and dysfunctional and disintegrating Turnbull Government in Canberra which couldn’t give a stuff about Tasmania frankly and we’ve got a Hodgman Government in Tasmania which is unwilling or unable to stand up for the people of this state to argue for a fair share for Tasmania and that’s why Labor has filled the void. We have said that it is possible to address the legitimate concerns of Western Australia without ripping billions of dollars out of the Tasmanian Budget, without jeopardising the schools and hospitals and services that Tasmanians rely on. Our message today and every day between now and the State election and the Federal election is that the only way to guarantee that Tasmania gets its fair share of funding for schools and hospitals and services is to elect a White Labor Government here in Tasmania and to elect a Shorten Labor Government nationally. That’s how we ensure that the advocacy of these colleagues and of the good people of Tasmania for a fair share for their local services and schools and hospitals is delivered, will be delivered, under Labor. The Liberal Party has been unable to give the same level of commitment.


JOURNALIST: Can you touch more on some of those consequences you think we’ll see in Tasmania?


CHALMERS: The draft Productivity Commission report which neither Scott Morrison nor Malcolm Turnbull has ruled out implementing has a range of scenarios. In each of those scenarios it has Tasmania losing billions of dollars over the medium term, hundreds of millions of dollars per year. You can only imagine when we’re talking about schools and hospitals and services, which are already underfunded here in Tasmania, you can imagine the impact that something like that would have, the devastating impact that that would have on a state like Tasmania. The Productivity Commission will be here on Friday, here in Hobart, to listen to concerned locals about that draft report. That is a good thing that they’re coming, they are only coming because of the advocacy of my colleagues here and other Labor colleagues here in Tasmania. Our message to them is and our message more importantly to the Turnbull Government is we want to see Tasmania get its fair share of funding, we want that fair share of funding guaranteed, we think that the issues in Western Australia can be dealt with adequately without threatening the funding or the budget of Tasmania.


JOURNALIST: So in that instance then under a Labor Government would Tasmania not lose a cent of the current amount?


CHALMERS: We are prepared to guarantee Tasmania would get its fair share of funding. We have said repeatedly since the draft Productivity Commission report came out, that we can address WA’s concerns without taking money off Tasmania. The Liberal Government under Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison has been unwilling or unable to give the same guarantee.


JOURNALIST: Question on another issue. There’s been a bit of talk about changing the date of Triple J’s Hottest 100 <inaudible>?


CHALMERS: I’ve been listening to the Hottest 100 for as long as I can remember. I think it speaks volumes about the Turnbull Government that we’ve got a Communications Minister which seems to be spending all of his time today worrying about Triple J programming and none of his time worrying about Malcolm Turnbull’s dud NBN – which is taking longer to build, which is slower, which costs more money and which we know from yesterday’s announcement will cost hundreds of millions of dollars in extra funding to get his dud NBN built. We would be better off in this country if the Communications Minister spent more of his time fixing Malcolm Turnbull’s dud NBN and less of his time worrying about programming decisions. I think that the way that Triple J has gone about this has been admirable. They asked something like sixty-five thousand of their listeners how they wanted to proceed. The listeners said in overwhelming numbers that they wanted to move it to a weekend, the fourth weekend of January. I’m looking forward to it just as much as on the fourth weekend of January as I would have on Australia Day. It is a terrific event, it promotes a lot of great social causes, it is up to them when they do the Triple J Hottest 100. I say good on them and I think that Mitch Fifield should butt out, I think that Triple J have done something that is well within their rights to do, they should be applauded for it, it’s what their listeners want and we’re all looking forward to it.