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Audit a distraction, says Weatherill

Friday, 2 May 2014
Author: AAP/Indaily

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill has likened the commission of audit report to the distraction of a magiciann's wand.

Arriving at Parliament House in Canberra ahead of the Council of Australian Government (COAG) meeting today, Weatherill flagged he'll be seeking assurances from the prime minister about some of the report's controversial recommendations.

"It looks like a magician's wand, it's over here to distract the eye, while the real work goes (on) over here in the budget to get about the cutting," the Labor premier told reporters.

He slammed the idea of increasing competition between states at the expense of cooperation.

"This is meant to be one nation not a series of competitive units," he said.

Asked if the goods and services tax should be allocated on a per capita basis, Weatherill said his state would stand to lose $1 billion if that went ahead.

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman supported reassessing how the federation operated.

"It is time to look at who does what, what the responsibilities are, end waste and inefficiencies," he told ABC radio.

He said the blame game between states and the Commonwealth frustrated voters.

Newman embraced the commission of audit's recommendations that states take full responsibility for running primary and secondary schools and public hospitals.

"Every state or territory would have to sink or swim on the basis of decisions they made," he said.

NSW Premier Mike Baird supports the recommendation for the states to be allowed to raise funds through an income tax surcharge.

"A sustainable federation means you must align revenues and expenditures across the various governments," he told reporters in Canberra.

He also wants to reduce the duplication of services between the state and federal arenas.

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