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Turnbull kills off GST debate

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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has made it crystal clear that he won’t be making an increase in the GST part of his government’s tax reform package, finally killing off a debate that has dragged on for months.

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“I can assure you that the government will not be taking a proposal to increase the GST to the election,” Turnbull told reporters in Rockhampton as part of his four-day tour of Queensland on Tuesday.

Treasury modelling released last week showed that increasing the GST does not give the economic growth dividend people had assumed it would.

“Somewhere between nil and very small,” Turnbull said.

His comments came as Opposition Leader Bill Shorten tried to reignite Labor’s scare campaign surrounding the impact of a rise in GST from 10 per cent to 15 per cent following comments by a senior cabinet minister on Monday.

Responding to questioning over the GST on Sky News, Employment Minister Michaelia Cash said: “We haven’t taken it off the table completely, not at all.”

Shorten said this confirmed the division at the heart of the government that was still contemplating a GST increase.

“Malcolm Turnbull needs to today stop waffling and just say in plain English, not 300 word slogans, that he will not introduce a 15 per cent GST, full stop,” he told reporters in Adelaide.

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