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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 8 Hansard (24 August) . . Page.. 2706..


DR FOSKEY (continuing):

will not support this budget. While I might normally have thought that they were merely playing politics, this time I am not so sure. The Liberal Party shares my view that the contents or, at the very least, the presumptions and the reasoning contained in the Costello report must be released.

We agree that in many areas there is insufficient detail in this budget bill or in subsequent releases of information to build an accurate understanding of exactly what it is we are being asked to support. We agree that there was inadequate answering of questions posed by the estimates committee in relation to this department. We agree that the government has not made out its case that this budget should be approved.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra—Leader of the Opposition) (8.45): I support the comments of previous speakers in this debate. I want to reiterate some points that Mr Pratt raised about territory and municipal services. I too have noted the number of potholes in the roads. I have never seen so many problems, even in Civic, and that when we have had huge increase in rates and charges at a time when families are really struggling. Maybe people do not mind paying a little bit extra if they actually get a service. But I am now getting quite a lot of constituent complaints about increased rates. They are saying that, despite an increase of 40 per cent in rates, there are problems with footpaths and lights, basic municipal things. I recently went for a walk around Charnwood and Dunlop and saw a number of problems with footpaths and the bread and butter issues that people object to.

They certainly object to them if their rates go up, as they have in Charnwood, for example, by 46 per cent. Charnwood is an area of battlers. In 2005-06 they had to pay rates of $698. This financial year they will be forking out $1,021. Belconnen is not exactly well off, either. Their rates and charges have gone up by 42 per cent. Holt, apart from the golf course—that is a nice estate—is not exactly a blue chip area. Their rates will increase by 41 per cent, from $793 to $1,121. In Spence, another area in my electorate, rates will go from $791 to $1,131.

Mr Hargreaves: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The Leader of the Opposition is referring to rate rises that are actually not part of my portfolio. I ask him to stick to the subject.

MR STEFANIAK: That is part of your portfolio.

Mr Hargreaves: Well, if you are going to do it, do it properly.

MR STEFANIAK: What is part of your portfolio, minister, is the fact that people expect something for their rates. They expect municipal services. I think Mr Pratt is absolutely spot-on when he says that the city is looking very untidy, the suburbs are looking very tacky and people are simply not getting the service they got even two or three years ago, let alone four, five or 10 years ago. The government is unable to provide the basics that people expect, and they are rates, roads and rubbish. There are not too many problems with collecting rubbish, but there certainly is a problem in terms of basic infrastructure.

I want to mention a number of other areas, and one of those is sport and recreation. I do not mind telling you—I will not do it now because I have only got about seven minutes to speak—how to make effective cuts. We did it before when we inherited a huge mess


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