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Strange time for new GST plan: SA Premier

AAP logoAAP 14/08/2016

If the prime minister was serious about changing how GST is carved up among the states he would have floated the idea before the election, South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill says.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told the WA Liberal Party state conference on Sunday he would work with premiers to put in a floor to how low a state's share of the revenue could drop - a plan that would greatly benefit the West.

Mr Weatherill says it's a unusual time for Mr Turnbull to propose the shift, and it seems like a tactic to distract the states from more important issues.

"If this was a serious idea, you imagine it would've been spoken about before the election," he told ABC radio on Monday.

"The whole thing does horribly look like a distraction designed to divide and conquer the states, so that they - we don't start talking about things like cuts to health care funding, cuts to education funding and all the other difficult issues the commonwealth doesn't want to talk about."

Mr Weatherill said he didn't believe the commonwealth could promise WA more money without disadvantaging the other states.

"It's a fixed pool of money so the more you give to one state the less you have to give to other states, unless of course the commonwealth kicks the can and puts more money in, but nobody thinks they're interested in doing that," he said.

"If it makes no difference to anyone, then why do it? It either has to make a difference to WA and give them more money, in which case somebody else has to lose, or it makes no difference at all, in which case why would you bother?"

Mr Weatherill isn't the only premier unsatisfied with the move, with Tasmanian Liberal Premier Will Hodgman advocating against any change to the GST.

Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison on Monday defended Mr Turnbull's announcement and said the GST changes won't be made anytime soon.

"We shouldn't get ahead of ourselves. I think he's making a pretty fair dinkum and obvious point that the system is not really working the way it should," he told 2GB radio.

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