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‘Not surprised:’ Minns’ grim budget admission

Written by on May 15, 2024

NSW Premier Chris Minns says the federal budget was ‘tough’ for the state, but promised to fight to ensure Australia’s most populous state receives a larger share of the GST carve-up.

Compared to the December mid-year economic update, NSW will receive $1.3bn less in GST revenue by 2026-27, and despite NSW housing about 31.42 per cent of Australia’s entire population the state will only receive about 27.5 per cent of the GST carve up, according to figures for 2024-25.

Total federal funding allocated to NSW had also been dropped by $555m to $52.37bn in the 2024-25 financial year.

Mr Minns said he had not expected the budget to change any of that.

“We weren’t surprised by it, because we knew as a result of the Grants Commission determination a couple of months ago that this would be tough on NSW,” he said.

“We’ve made it clear that a per capita split on the GST is the only fair way of ensuring that states like NSW can grow.

“I didn’t expect the budget to change that, but I’m hopeful that as the federal government has listened to us on Western Sydney infrastructure, we can make some headway on some of these other pressing issues.”

The Commonwealth Grants Commission (CGC) earlier this year determined NSW would receive a lower pool of the GST cut, from 92.4 per cent per capita to 86.7 per cent per capita, in what the NSW government says would be a $1.65bn hit to the state’s bottom line.

Over the next four years, this will total to $11.9bn.

The move prompted the state government to call for a renegotiation of how GST is split, calling for funds to be split based on population.

Mr Minns maintained NSW should get a higher proportion of the GST carve-up, given budget figures indicated the state will take in 37 per cent of inbound migrants, putting pressure on public transport, infrastructure needs and housing.

“That’s a lot to fight for … that’s why we’ve got to duke it out between the states and the Commonwealth, but I’m hopeful that we can get a breakthrough.”

The premier also backed the universal $300 energy rebate and said it was the “right thing to do”.

“In other states (people would) be earning what would be considered a decent whack but in NSW, they get absolutely hosed, and the average house price in this state in this city is $1.5m. In Melbourne, roughly the same size city, it’s about a million dollars,” he said.

“Now that spread is massive when you’ve got interest rates rapidly rising.”

Speaking on 2GB on Thursday morning, federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers said NSW was a “big beneficiary” of the budget.

“Some of the GST is down because consumption is down and that applies to everyone. Some of it is a consequence of the independent determination of the CGS, but if you look right across the budget, NSW are big winners.

“Billions and billions of dollars in new investment, including in infrastructure in Western Sydney.”

He said it was a “tale as old as federation” for states to petition the Commonwealth for more money, and maintained he had a good relationship with NSW Treasurer Daniel Mookhey, and Mr Minns.

“Daniel Mookhey (is a) terrific treasurer and Chris Minns is a great premier … but it’s not unusual or unprecedented for states, whether it’s NSW or other states to say that they would like more money. Of course they would”.