The changes to Tasmania’s GST allocation are obviously positive in the short term, but just as obviously quite doubtful in the longer term.
Any one-off injections of cash must be designed in such a way that they can’t be taken away the next year or by the next government. And the Government needs to give Tasmanians an iron-clad guarantee that other special purpose payments won’t be reduced to claw back any GST money.
The timing of this announcement is especially unsettling because of course the Government will promise the world prior to the Braddon by-election and the forthcoming federal election. The real test will be next May’s budget when the truthfulness of the Government’s position is revealed.
Tasmanians expect the State Government to scrutinise this plan carefully and not jump to support any new formula that will see the State lose out over the longer term.
Frankly we shouldn’t be rushing to please Western Australia because the state did very well out of the GST in the early days and squandered the rivers of gold it collected during the mining boom.