Laws to change the way GST revenue is carved up among the states and territories will be the priority for the Morrison government when the Senate sits next week.
With the House of Representatives not sitting until November 26, the upper house will get on with finalising a backlog of government bills.
The changes to the GST include a floor of 75 cents, boosting the GST pool with federal money, and setting the new standard of distribution for the tax revenue to be the fiscal capacity of the stronger of NSW or Victoria.
They became an issue after the mining boom saw Western Australia’s share of the GST drop to about 30 cents in the dollar.
During the transition period between 2021-22 and 2026-27, states and territories will get the better of the old or the new system over the period.
In 2026, the Productivity Commission will review whether the updated system is working as intended.
Labor said in an inquiry report tabled on Thursday the government should release in full its letter to the state and territory treasurers, which promises “any additional financial assistance referred to in the bill will not be offset or partially offset by a decrease in other grant funding to the states”.
Labor senators are also expected to take up the states’ concerns over a lack of detail about how the Commonwealth will be paying for top-up funding.
Also listed for debate are laws to allow defence forces to be called out in terrorism events, improvements to the My Health Records system, a new aged care regulator and electoral forms to crack down on foreign influence.
Senators will also get their chance to speak on the apology to survivors of institutional child sexual abuse.
Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick is expected to seek an inquiry into Australia’s interaction with China’s Belt and Road initiative, following a controversial Victorian government deal.
The Greens will call on the government to restore the ABC’s role in providing news and other content to other countries in the Asia-Pacific and seek an inquiry into discrimination against gay and lesbian people.
An inquiry report into the banking, insurance and financial services sector is due to be tabled.
© AAP 2018