Ms O'CONNOR question to PREMIER, Mr HODGMAN
Do you accept that the very purpose of the Commonwealth Grants Commission process that sees Tasmania receive a higher per capita share of GST is to invest in improving the health, wellbeing and educational attainment of the Tasmanian people?
That is, it is intended to be invested in service delivery - a recurrent expense to Government. Or do you agree with your Treasurer, who yesterday made it clear he regards an investment of the bulk of the state's projected $590 million GST windfall into health, education, housing and community services as a waste of money?
Madam Speaker, I thank the Member for her question. I refute the false claim that the Treasurer said any such thing. What he did say is that we are not going to waste money like the former Government did, which left us with an appalling Budget mess we are now fixing. The reason for fixing the Budget mess we inherited from those opposite is so we can invest more in health, education and public safety, and that is exactly what we are doing. We will ensure we get the Budget back on track, so that we can invest more in essential services. We will also take a long-term view and a more strategic approach to managing the Budget.
Under the former Labor-Green Government we had a boom-bust cycle because they were incapable of managing the Budget with any discipline. They were incapable of withstanding shocks to our economy. When there were windfalls to the former Government, they spent the lot. We famously remember a Labor-Green Premier coming in here and saying it was time to 'take all the hay out of barn'. That is what former Premier, David Bartlett, said should happen. Not only did they blow the hay, they burnt down the barn as well and left us with an appalling Budget mess. We are rebuilding the Budget. We believe it is absolutely critical for a good Government to do that so we can invest more in essential services.