Today, I held my first meeting with the State and Territory Treasurers, where we discussed a new infrastructure partnership and the GST threshold for online purchases.
On infrastructure, we agreed to commence work on new incentives for building Australia’s economic infrastructure, how that should be funded and how we increase the private sector’s involvement. We will reconvene early in 2014 to continue these discussions.
On GST, the States were provided with the material they had previously requested on the costs of any changes to the online threshold. They will now consider that advice.
There was no agenda item to discuss any changes to the base or rate of the GST.
I also informed the Treasurers about the domestic and global economic outlook and the state of the Commonwealth Government’s budget.
They were informed that government debt would peak well above $400 billion and that, in terms of increasing the debt limit, we needed a buffer on top of that of between $40 billion and $60 billion. There was general concern in the meeting about the debt limit, the need to avoid uncertainty around it, as well as discussion on whether it could impact on the States.