The Commission was established in 1933 by the Australian Government. Its role was to inquire into and report on applications by the States to the Commonwealth for special assistance under section 96 of the Constitution. Section 96 provides for the Parliament of the Commonwealth to grant financial assistance to any State. The Commission’s role in recommending the distribution of financial assistance to States, now in the form of GST revenue using the principle of horizontal fiscal equalisation, continues to this day.
In celebration of its 50th anniversary, the activities of the Commission were documented in the publication Equality in Diversity. This publication was updated in a second edition, coinciding with the Commission’s 60th anniversary, first released in 1995. Most recently, the Commission’s activities have been documented in a third publication, released in January 2009.
A History of Selected Assessments of State activities by the Commission is also available on this site.