Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (2 September) . . Page.. 1754..
MR HARGREAVES (11.57): Mr Speaker, it was mentioned on a number of occasions that the Labor Party supported the Graham report, and indeed it did, but members who were here at the time will recall that the Labor Party expressed grave concerns about the inherent inequities in the zonal system. Our reservations were soundly based and we now see how true those predictions were. It should be obvious to all of those who want to see that the public have reacted to the zonal system. It has been roundly rejected. And who are the big losers? The big losers are those who live on the borders because zonal systems, by their very definition, create inequities. Those who travel interzone as commuters have copped an increase and those who have to travel interzone to go to school have also copped an increase. Along with, I am sure, many other members, I have had an enormous amount of representation from people who have to travel interzone to go to school. For the purposes of Hansard, I am holding up a whole stack of papers here and they represent just some of them.
Ms Carnell: From three schools? Actually from one school.
MR HARGREAVES: The Chief Minister interjects that it is from just one school. The Chief Minister clearly has to have a lesson in counting. There are at least four schools represented in that packet that I have just demonstrated. A number of other schools in the public sector have also made representations to me. The system is socially irresponsible, it is unresponsive to need, it is commercially suspect and it is decidedly uncaring.
My office - and those of other members, as I have said - has been inundated with complaints from families whose domestic budget has been significantly reduced. The family budget has been hit with significant increases as a result of the new system as well as increases in motor registration fees because the family, through a limited budget, has to run a larger, older motor vehicle. Also, because people have the good fortune to be able to buy their own home, they are hit with an insurance levy. And you wonder why they are upset!
Some of the dismissive comments on the system have been outrageous. One example is a statement in the Canberra Times. I am happy to make it available to those members who do not have the Canberra Times delivered to their offices. I quote:
With means-tested assistance to families with at least three children travelling between zones, 88 per cent of students would be no worse off under the zonal system.
Let us look at that statement. "Means-tested assistance" is just another creation of yet another lower class of citizen. People have to go along and declare their income to get something, which they did not have to do before. The statement also says that 88 per cent of students will be no worse off. I recall John Howard saying that no-one will be worse off under his new industrial relations regime.