|A new deal urgently needed on Commonwealth revenue spending|
3 March 2004
The Council of Social Service of NSW (NCOSS) has expressed alarm at the Commonwealth Grants Commission decision that delivers NSW nearly $400 million less than expected in GST revenues in 2004-05.
"If NSW Treasury's $275 million deficit prediction was right in its December 2003 mid year review, then today's news will place massive pressure on this year's State Budget," said NCOSS Director, Gary Moore.
"To maintain, let alone improve the resources available for State services and infrastructure, Bob Carr and Michael Egan must commit NSW to fairer taxes which generate stronger revenues and a modest Budget deficit for 2004-05."
"The Grants Commission process and decision are poor in so many respects."
"GST and other revenues collected by the Howard Government are not distributed across Australia on the basis of funding common, minimum levels and quality of services and facilities for all Australians. Surely the key results of an effective tax system are the genuine benefits for people on the ground."
"The distribution of funds bears no relationship to the performance of Government services across the Commonwealth, States and Territories."
"All contributing factors towards the costs of services and infrastructure provision, whether in urban or rural locations, are not taken into account."
"And the ordinary citizen has no idea of how this critical process is carried out, even though the results will critically affect each of us."
"The Premier is right to criticise the Grants Commission decision."
"But on this issue, if he is not to be judged too much a political opportunist in a Federal election year, Mr Carr must take a lead with his colleague State and Territory Labor Premiers and Chief Ministers and Opposition Leader Mark Latham to devise a credible alternative revenue sharing measure based on outcomes for people, wherever they live."