The Commonwealth Grants Commission need a kick up the backside, Queensland Senator Matt Canavan told the Senate today.
Senator Canavan was discussing the distribution of GST to the States and the effective loss of mining royalties from mineral-rich States like Queensland and Western Australia to other States during debate on a bill proposed by Senator Dio Wang.
“The current system is failing us. It is failing us as a nation. It needs to change. I think the Commonwealth Grants Commission need a kick up the backside because they are not doing their job at the moment.
“The Queensland Government put in their submission to the Commonwealth Grants Commission that they should consider the Canadian decision to provide a more generous consideration of the costs of mining before redistributing revenue.
“I asked Mr Spasojevic, Secretary of the Commission, during later Senate estimates hearings: ‘Are you familiar with Canada's recent changes?’ Mr Spasojevic answered: ‘No.’ I asked: ‘So you have not looked at that at all?’ Mr Spasojevic answered: ‘No.’ I asked: ‘Why not?’ And he said: ‘Why should I have?’
“One reason he should have is that it was in the Queensland Government's submission to his organisation for their assessment process!
“The Commonwealth Grants Commission has made an assessment. They are very complex issues. I certainly appreciate that, and I can reasonably appreciate that Australians will come to different views about what the final conclusions would be.
“But what I cannot appreciate is that the Commonwealth Grants Commission is apparently blind to a very important part of the Queensland government's submission — probably the most important part of their submission.
“This is a massive issue in terms of the redistribution process, and the Commonwealth Grants Commission is blind to it, has not looked at it, has not engaged with it and has not even bothered to look at what Canada is doing and what it has changed.”