Daily News Roundup

July 5, 2018

Image: ABC News

THURSDAY,  July 5

The Federal Government wants to adopt a new model for carving up the billions of dollars in GST revenue, but will have to chip in cash to ensure no state is worse off.

Treasurer Scott Morrison will today unveil a proposal for changing the system, after a year-long review by the government’s main independent economic advisor, the Productivity Commission, reports the ABC.

It will seek to walk the fine line between easing concerns from some states that they have been done over by the current model, and ensuring smaller states do not cry poor.

The proposal works in stages. In the first instance, the Federal Government will top up WA’s share of GST revenue after the mining boom wore off.

The next step involves the Commonwealth adding hundreds of millions of dollars to the GST pool, to ensure smaller states do not fall behind as the new calculation model is adopted.

That will begin at $600 million annually from the 2020/21 financial year. From the 2024/25 financial year, another $250 million will be added to that annually. It will cost more than $7 billion.

Mr Morrison said making sure no-one was worse off could be done by “making the pie bigger”.

“If we left the pie at the same size, then obviously if there was a slightly smaller slice then people would be worse off, but when you make the pie bigger then obviously that slice is bigger.

“That is the nature of the change,” the Treasurer told AM.

The formula will also be tweaked to tie the fortunes of smaller states to that of the largest state, New South Wales or Victoria.

By 2026/27, the changes will be done. And the Government is promising every state will get at least 75 cents for every dollar they contribute.

The Productivity Commission’s preferred model would have annoyed most of the states, changing the formula for carving up the cash to one which looks at the average wealth of the states.

Only New South Wales and WA would be better off under that model.

Chris Richardson from Deloitte Access Economics described it as a “sensible” proposal from the Government, even if it was not adopting the commission’s preferred approach.

“But mostly sensible has come with a whole bunch of political landmines in it, and the Government’s response is looking to be rather more careful on this front,” he told AM.

“This is far from solving the problem, but at least it would address and improve some of the problems that we have.

“This is a pretty solid change, and the first notable change in some time, and it’s overdue.”

Yesterday, the Prime Minister declared his Government had rejected the Productivity Commission’s preferred option.

“You will see, as I have said, that no state will be worse off as a result of the reforms,” he said.

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Britain’s top counter-terrorism officer has confirmed two British citizens who are critically ill in hospital were poisoned with Novichok, the same nerve agent that struck down a former Russian agent in March.

Police said there was no evidence they had visited the same sites that were decontaminated after the Skripal case.

“I have received test results from Porton Down [military research centre] which show that the two people have been exposed to the nerve agent Novichok,” Neil Basu, Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism officer, told reporters.

UK counter-terrorism police are now leading the investigation and said the possibility that the case is linked with the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia was a line of enquiry.

But Mr Basu said there was no intelligence to indicate that the man and woman had been deliberately targeted.

He also told reporters police did not yet know how the Novichok nerve agent was transmitted.

Health chiefs said the risk to the public was low, though the exposure will likely stoke fears that traces of the nerve agent remain in the area.

“As the country’s chief medical officer, I want to reassure the public that the risk to the general public remains low,” England’s chief medical officer Sally Davies told reporters.

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Joey “Jaws” Chestnut extended his reign as champion eater at the Nathan’s Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest, downing a world-record 74 wieners and buns in 10 minutes to take home the coveted Mustard Belt for an 11th time.

Miki Sudo held onto her title as the top women’s competitor at the annual Brooklyn eat-off, chomping 37 franks and buns to take home the top prize for an unprecedented fifth consecutive year.

“I found a vicious rhythm,” the 34-year-old Chestnut said after the stuffing session.

“I was feeling good today.”

But while Chestnut ate 10 more dogs and buns than second-place finisher Carmen Cincotti, a judging error cast initial doubt over their totals after jurists didn’t see the eaters were taking the dogs and buns from two plates.

“Frankly, the judging was just off,” George Shea, the longtime Coney Island announcer, said.

“Joey said, ‘look at my plates’ and Carmen said ‘look at my plates.’ We counted the plates that they had eaten and it was 64 and 74.”

Eric Gonzalez, the Brooklyn district attorney, certified the final tally and Chestnut’s record of 74, two more than he consumed last year.

“At the end of the day, Joey Chestnut came in here and ate 74 hot dogs, broke a world record,” said Cincotti, who celebrated his 26th birthday on Wednesday.

“Apparently they were good dogs.”

A total of $40,000 in prize money was up for grabs, with the first-place winners taking home $10,000 each.

Sudo fell short of the 41 hot dogs she consumed last year, but easily beat out second-place finisher Mischelle Lesco of Tucson, Arizona, who chowed down 28 wieners and buns.

This news roundup is curated with stories from ABC News.

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