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yes, slicing tool has been wished for a while because it was a really needed tool the past ten years. It was made to help make a complete layout and then cut it into parts and produce resulting HTML+CSS+JS (rollovers aso).
I see 2 reasons why it is not actually so essential :
1. Vectors are more and more used to draw site templates
2. With future coming with HTML5+CSS3+SVG, there will be very fewer to be done in a program like gimp, because everyting will be css (shadow, round-corners, animations...)
IMO, Any slice tool development beginning now should take this future into account to make it usefull for the following years, and compliant with those new technologies.