GRACosway Weekly Policy Wrap Up

10 April 2015

Treasurer Joe Hockey hosted his state and territory counterparts in Canberra this week for a Council on Federal Financial Relations meeting where the focus was squarely on tax.  Hockey faced opposition from Treasurers as he sought support for changing the distribution of the GST, in response to the latest report from the Commonwealth Grants Commission that highlights WA’s falling share.  The Treasurers did find agreement that goods downloaded, such as songs and movies, should be subject to the GST, and that it should also apply to overseas online purchases under $1000.  The discussion comes as the Federal Government has confirmed measures to prevent profit shifting by multinationals will be included in this year’s budget.

Treasurer Hockey makes his way to the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting in the US this weekend.  State and territory leaders will be in Canberra next Friday for the next Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting, just under four weeks out from the May budget.

Human Services Minister Marise Payne announced today that the Government will provide funding to replace the Department of Human Service’s IT system.  The Government plans to go to market in the new financial year.  For further details, see the media release here.

Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane released the Energy White Paperearlier this week.  See GRACosway’s summary here.

Independent Senator John Madigan has announced he will form his own party, John Madigan’s Manufacturing and Farming Party.

Queensland Labor Senator Jan McLucas has announced that she will not contest the next federal election after losing support in the upcoming Labor Party preselection process.

In NSW, Premier Mike Baird has announced changes to NSW department heads.  Mark Paterson will leave as Secretary of NSW Trade and Investment, and Simon Smith has been appointed to a new role of Secretary of the Department of Industry, Skills and Regional Development.  Phil Gaetjens will also leave as Secretary of NSW Treasury.

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Luke Foley has unveiled his 17 person Shadow Cabinet.  Linda Burney continues as Deputy Opposition Leader and Michael Daley as Shadow Treasurer.  Among the changes, Ryan Park will become the Opposition’s Transport and Infrastructure spokesperson, and Jodi McKay the Shadow Minister for Justice and Police, and Shadow Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight.  See the full list here.

The Victorian Parliament sits next week.

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