I am pleased to announce the appointments of Patricia Faulkner, Jenny Menzies and Jeff Petchey, and the reappointment of Greg Smith to the Commonwealth Grants Commission.
The Commission is the independent umpire that makes recommendations on the distribution of GST revenue amongst the States and Territories to ensure they all have funding to deliver broadly equivalent services in areas such as health and education.
The appointments are for a five-year period. Each of the appointees has a wide range of experience in state or financial matters that will be useful in their new roles.
Ms Faulkner is the Chair of the Prime Minister's Social Inclusion Board, a member of the COAG Reform Council and an expert advisor to the Multi Party Climate Change Committee. She is currently an advisor to KPMG's Public Sector Strategy and Governance Group. Prior to this, she was the Secretary of the Department of Human Services in Victoria.
Ms Menzies is a principal consultant at Three Plus, a business and marketing communications consultancy. She served as the Secretary of the Council for the Australian Federation from 2007 to 2009. She was also previously a senior executive within the Queensland Department of the Premier and Cabinet and was Cabinet Secretary within that Department from 2001 to 2004.
Professor Petchey is the Head of the School of Economics and Finance at Curtin University in Western Australia. He has written extensively on federalism and fiscal equalisation. He has also managed large-scale research projects through Curtin University for the Financial and Fiscal Commission of South Africa on infrastructure equalisation and provincial funding models.
Mr Smith has been a member of the Commission since August 2006 and took part in the 2010 Review of GST Revenue Sharing Relativities and several of the Commission's annual update reports. He is currently an adjunct professor at the Australian Catholic University and a senior fellow at the Melbourne Law School. He was also a panel member for the Australia's Future Tax System Review. Mr Smith has had extensive experience in the Commonwealth Treasury, including roles as the Executive Director of Budget Group and Revenue Group.
With these new appointments, the Commission will consist of a part-time Chairperson and five part-time members.
Equalisation of funding between the states is a fundamental principle of our Federation that underpins the Australian sense of a fair go – that people living in smaller states have access to the same basic services as those in larger states.
In March, the Government announced an independent review of GST distribution to ensure the methodology the Commission is using is right for today's economy. The review will deliver an interim report by February 2012 and a final report by September 2012.
I sincerely thank the Commission's outgoing members, Ross Williams and Jennifer Westacott, for their years of dedicated service and their valuable contributions to the health of our national economy.
26 August 2011