Labor will proactively engage in debate about the GST but won’t commit to supporting a raise.
State and territory leaders will hold an emergency meeting in Sydney on Sunday, angry with the federal government’s $80 billion cuts to their schools and hospitals over the next 10 years.
There’s been speculation the budget cuts will force the states to call for an increase to the GST rate or a widening of its base.
Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen says despite Labor’s policy to vote against increases to the GST, the party will proactively discuss the issue.
“We’re more than happy to have a debate,” he told news services.
“We’ve never said there shouldn’t be a discussion about the GST.”
But Greens leader Christine Milne says her party will not support an increase, either by raising the rate or broadening the base.
She said the GST conversation has arisen from unacceptable blackmailing of the states.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott says it’s up to the states to decide on GST measures.