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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 6 Hansard (5 June) . . Page.. 1425..


And contrary to popular myth-making, the growth in commonwealth taxation has been higher than the growth in state and territory taxation. Between 2000-01 and 2006-07, Australian government taxes grew by an average of 6.6 per cent a year. State taxation revenue grew at an average rate of 5.8 per cent a year.

In the ACT, territory tax revenue grew even more slowly, by an average of just 4.2 per cent a year.

And yet, while the commonwealth's share of tax revenue continued to climb, its contribution to crucial services actually declined.

Five years ago, the commonwealth contributed around 31 per cent of our hospital costs. Now it is 23 per cent.

Five years ago, the commonwealth contributed around 18 per cent toward the cost of disability services. Now it is around 14 per cent.

Funding for housing assistance has been decreasing in real terms at a time when housing affordability has been worsening nationally.

For the ACT, per capita specific purpose payments from the commonwealth—contributions for services such as hospital care, disability services, housing assistance and home care—have actually decreased by around 10 per cent in real terms over the past five years.

ACT Labor has picked up the slack, in many cases not just making up for the comparative decline in the commonwealth's contribution, but catering for growth too.

We make no apologies for doing so. But as we made clear last year, the time has come when we must close the fiscal gap and ensure that the services we provide are paid for, today, by us, not tomorrow, by our children.

Conclusion

Mr Speaker, the budget I have detailed today is good for the people of Canberra, good for the community, good for the environment, good for business. It will make a real difference, where people live, where they work, where they play, where they catch a bus, where they park their cars, where they buy their milk and walk their dogs. It will ensure that their health priorities are met, that the education they receive is as good as it gets.

Last year's budget was about setting a course for the territory's finances for the future. This budget maintains that course and takes the territory forward. It is prudent and it delivers. It maintains fiscal discipline while addressing our real priorities as a community.

This is a budget that makes significant investments in the infrastructure and services needed to take the territory forward.


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