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Turnbull puts GST back on poll agenda

Politics

Malcolm Turnbull says if re-elected he will sit down with state premiers to again discuss the distribution of GST revenue.

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Western Australia says it is not getting its fair share of the consumption tax revenue, partly because it has resisted the eastern states’ addiction to poker machine revenue.

The prime minister told ABC radio in Perth today he could not change the GST formula by decree and would discuss WA’s “raw deal” with state and territory leaders after the election.

Tax reform has been an Achilles heel for Turnbull after he put the issue on the table soon after overthrowing Tony Abbott, but ultimately baulked at politically contentious changes to the GST, instead proposing a plan whereby the states would levy their own income tax in a bid to bolster their health and education funding needs.

SA and NSW premiers Jay Weatherill and Mike Baird both publicly advocated for GST reform at the time, with Weatherill proposing a regime whereby the consumption tax rate would be increased to 15 per cent, with states receiving a fixed share of personal income tax receipts to replace a raft of existing Commonwealth grants.

Both the prime minister and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten are campaigning in Perth, where analysts expect a significant swing to Labor, with the first pre-poll votes cast from today.

Meanwhile, Nick Xenophon has continued his push for the balance of power, pledging to “use his numbers” in the next parliament to pressure the Government to restore funding to the ABC – including the restoration of the axed “Fact Check” unit.

While Fact Check continues to operate during the election campaign, it is reportedly due to be wound up after the July 2 poll.

Xenophon said he would push for a ten-year funding cycle for the national broadcaster, instead of the existing triennial model.

He said in a statement Fact Check’s looming axing “smacked of being a political decision because Fact Check embarrassed pollies on both sides”.

“It cost $1.3million out of a total news budget of $200million – it’s an insurance policy for better politics,” he said.

-with AAP

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