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Wednesday, 31 May 2000
Page: 16679

Ms HOARE (NaN:00:00) —My question is to the Treasurer. Treasurer, do you stand by your claim as set out in your original GST package that the price of gas will only increase by 3.9 per cent as a result of the GST? If so, why does Allan Fels's GST shopping list state that the price of gas will increase by 9 to 9.5 per cent, almost a $50 increase on the annual gas bill for the average Australian household? Treasurer, if Allan Fels does not believe your GST price promises, why should ordinary Australians?

Mr COSTELLO (Treasurer) —The answer is as was announced when the ACCC put out its price guidelines with the explanatory notes, which I am sure the honourable member has read, and as I informed the House yesterday—namely, that the Treasury modelling in the A New Tax System document is based on 107 ABS classifications. They are obviously groups. As was made clear at the time, there are 107 classifications.

Two things have changed since that in relation to the ACCC price analyses. The first is that the ACCC has worked off individual products and not off classifications. In relation to individual products, once they are decoupled from those industry classifications they are the price changes which would be expected in relation to those individual products. Secondly, the package was substantially amended in the Australian Senate as a consequence of the exclusion of various items from the GST base, the consequent delay of the abolition of financial institutions duty, the consequent delay of the abolition of bank account debits tax, the consequent delay of the stamp duty on shares and marketable securities and the changes in relation to transport, in particular—the Labor Party was successful in jacking up the prices of transport by refusing to allow the government the opportunity to cut the price of diesel for all transport in Australia. As a consequence of those matters there were changes in relation to some individual items. They are essentially the changes between the two price classifications. The two have been fully explained in the notes, which no doubt the member has studiously read.