Wednesday 30 May 2012 - Budget Estimates - Economics Committee
Commonwealth Grants Commission
Senator LUDLAM: Senator Cormann has asked a bunch of stuff, which saves us a bit of time.
Senator Wong: The answer is, less money for smaller states.
Senator LUDLAM: Yes, I was after some quantification of that.
Senator Wong: I assume that if the opposition are going to continue with that they will actually tell the people of South Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory and the ACT and so forth.
Senator LUDLAM: I have a Tassie question, on behalf of some of my colleagues. You put a response to a question from last estimates, No. 130, I understand, that said you do not take into account the impact on Tasmania of Bass Strait making it hard for firms to compete, the premise being that other states provide road and rail networks and so on to allow companies to send their products to the rest of the country. If the Tasmanian government provided the same facility by assisting Tasmanian companies with freight across Bass Strait, would the Grants Commission treat this as a comparable expense to, for example, spending on hard infrastructure like road or rail?
Mr Spasojevic : I do not know the answer to that question, quite honestly, because it has never been put to the commission.
Senator LUDLAM: Fair enough. Can I put it to you now?
Mr Spasojevic : You can put it to me now, but I will not be able to answer it until it goes to the commission at the next methodology review, which has not yet started.
Senator LUDLAM: Okay.
Mr Spasojevic : So, it is a question for the next methodology review, because that is something that only gets answered at those points in time.
Senator LUDLAM: Okay. I will leave it there and I might come back to the transcript and see where Senator Cormann was at before.
Mr Spasojevic : Okay.