POLITICS

Turnbull Angers Qld Over 'Absolutely Discriminatory' GST Plan

The PM wants to put a floor under GST revenue distribution.

13/08/2016 1:11 PM AEST | Updated 14/08/2016 4:24 PM AEST
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Queensland has hit out at Malcolm Turnbull's plans to change how GST revenue is distributed.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull looks to have waded into a stoush with Queensland over his idea to boost Western Australia's share of GST revenue.

The Prime Minister this weekend committed to setting up a floor in GST distribution to the states, in an attempt to avoid a repeat of the "unprecedented collapse" in GST revenue in WA.

"We believe that we should take the opportunity, as the West Australian share of the GST increases under the current system, to change the arrangements so that we set a percentage floor below which no states' receipts can fall," he told Liberal faithful in WA on Saturday.

Predictably, the PM's plan was welcomed by WA Premier Colin Barnett who said that "a floor can be imposed that does not make any other state or territory worse off".

But it has been savaged on Sunday by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk who labeled "absolutely discriminatory".

Palaszczuk has reportedly accused the PM of making "policy on the run" over the rule change.

"Once again, [he wants] to give a handout to Western Australia which I think is absolutely discriminatory," she told reporters in Brisbane, according to The Guardian.

Turnbull this weekend also defended his decision to take the nation to a double dissolution election, despite the coalition winning it with only a razor thin majority.

The government has a one seat majority in the lower house, leaving the coalition in a worse-off position than before the July 2 poll.

But the PM on Saturday didn't back down from his decision, saying it had made a strong statement.

"Had we not taken that double dissolution election campaign we would have been seen as a party, as government, that was not committed," Turnbull said in Western Australia.

Since the election, Turnbull has taken "full responsibility" for the coalition's poor showing, but has also blamed it on Labor's Medicare scare campaign.

Much of the focus since the election has been on how Turnbull will manage the senate containing crossbenchers Derryn Hinch, Pauline Hanson, Nick Xenophon and Jacqui Lambie.

Turnbull also told the Liberal event that it was crucial the party backed Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett -- after WA Liberal MPs were told to stop trashing his leadership.

"The return of the Barnett government is so important," he said.

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