Lara calls for level playing field

Written By miftah nugraha on Rabu, 20 Februari 2013 | 19.55

PREMIER Lara Giddings has lashed out at critics of Tasmania's economic performance and said the campaign by large Liberal states for a greater share of the GST would create an unequal Australia.

Speaking at the National Press Club in Canberra today, she said tampering with Australia's long-established principles of tax distribution, would be disastrous for Tasmanians.

"With a fixed pool of GST funds available, any change will be at the expense of Tasmania," she said.

"We stand to lose up to $700 million each and every year, some 15 per cent of the State Budget.

"Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett cries poor despite rolling in the massive royalties of the mining boom."

Read Lara Giddings' full speech here

Taking questions after her speech, Ms Giddings spoke with passion about the implications.

"It would be wrong for the state which can least afford it to give money to the richest state," she said.

"It is wrong that someone in Launceston should have a different level of health and education services to someone in Subiaco.

"It is wrong to think there should be two streams of Australians."

Ms Giddings said a level playing field was "what the federation is about".

She accused federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott of saying one thing when he was in Western Australia and another when he visited Tasmania, calling for a "fairer" system in the West while promising Tasmania would be no worse off.

She also invited all Liberal leaders to visit Tasmania and explain to locals why they should be denied equal access to the same quality of services as other Australians.

Ms Giddings was defiant in the face of another round of bad opinion polls this week, which showed support for the Labor Party slipping to 23 per cent.

She acknowledged that the state economy was going through tough times, with industries such as forestry and manufacturing under pressure from market changes and the high value of the Australian dollar but she said Tasmania was on track to build a more resilient economy.

"As a result of the tough budget decisions we made earlier than other states, Tasmania is forecast to be the only state in the country that is both net debt free and in surplus by 2014-15," she said.

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