Image: Jim Chalmers is applauded after delivering his first full-year budget (AAP/Mick Tsikas)
As expected, Tuesday night’s federal budget included sizeable funding for Hobart’s new AFL stadium and upgrades for York Park in the North.
Canberra will shell out $305 million in coming years, but Labor claims the devil is in the detail.
In a rowdy Question Time on Tuesday, the Opposition grilled the Premier on whether Tasmania will end up being dudded on the funding due to a GST loophole.
“The Premier’s secret deal with the AFL will leave Tasmanian taxpayers on the hook for more than 97 per cent of the total cost of his stadium because we will effectively be paying nearly all of it back through lower GST receipts,” said Shadow Treasurer Shane Broad.
“If the final costs of other stadia across the nation are anything to go by, Tasmanian taxpayers could be slugged more than $1 billion for Rockliff’s stadium – not the $375 million he wants us to believe.”
Jeremy Rockliff has labelled much of the AFL deal as “commercial in confidence”.
“To be able to go to Agfest, as I did recently, or Eastlands, people are coming up to me and saying, ‘Good on you for the team,’ ” Mr Rockliff told Question Time.
“We expect of course to be treated very family when it comes to these matters and GST allocations. That’s a matter for the Department of Treasury.”
Policy analyst Martyn Goddard has also warned Tasmania could be on the hook.
“Unless the federal Treasurer, in his yearly Terms of Reference letter to the Commonwealth Grants Commission, requires that a particular Commonwealth payment is to be treated by “exclusion” rather than “inclusion,” the state’s GST allocation is reduced by a commensurate amount over three years, with a one-year lag waiting for all the figures to come in,” he said.
More broadly, Federal Labor’s $14.6 billion cost-of-living package is likely to be welcomed by Tasmanian welfare recipients and small businesses.
Commonwealth rent assistance will rise 15 per cent to a maximum of $180.80 a fortnight, and more than 5 million eligible households and small businesses will save $500 a year on electricity.
There’s a $40 a fortnight boost for recipients of payments including Jobseeker and Austudy and aged care workers are in line for a 15 per cent pay rise.
Four urgent-care Medicare clinics will be built at as-yet-undisclosed locations across Hobart, Launceston and Devonport.
A $3.5 billion bulk billing package aims to encourage GPs to offer free consultations to children and other eligible patients by tripling the Medicare incentive.
Small businesses will benefit from a one-off instant asset write-off boost to $20,000, while SMEs will be able to claim an additional 20 per cent of the cost of depreciating assets aimed at helping them become more energy efficient.
High-income earners will cash in thanks to the controversial Stage 3 tax cuts which will cost the budget $20 billion a year, taxing those earning between $45,000 and $200,000 at the same 30 per cent rate.
It’s worth $9000 for the upper end of the bracket.
But there was bad news for smokers – they’ll be slugged an extra 15 per cent in excise over the next three years.