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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 8 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 2178..


MR MULCAHY: My question is to the Treasurer. Treasurer, under your government ACT residents are paying more than ever before in local taxes—

Mr Pratt: The best answer you have given all year, John. Really transparent!

Mr Stanhope: I am sorry, Mr Speaker. I missed part of the question.

MR MULCAHY: Treasurer, under your government—

Mr Pratt interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Pratt, desist.

MR MULCAHY: Treasurer, under your government ACT residents are paying more than ever before in local taxes and charges. The utilities network facilities tax, a unique charge that you have created, will alone cost Canberra residents almost $100 extra per year. Arguably you have shown some ingenuity in creating a tax that no other jurisdiction in the country has thought of, but the fact is, Treasurer, that nobody is congratulating you. Given the improved budget position, a result of prosperity beyond your control, when can the people of Canberra expect tax relief?

Mr Corbell: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I think Mr Mulcahy might be asking the Treasurer to announce government policy. I think the question is out of order. The question was: when will Canberrans expect tax relief? It is almost certainly asking the Treasurer to announce a new policy.

MR SPEAKER: I do not think so.

Mr Corbell: What is it, then?

MR SPEAKER: It is a question about the government's intention on tax. I am sure the Treasurer can—

Mr Corbell: On the point of order, Mr Speaker, the question was not: is the government considering tax structures? The question was: when will the government provide tax relief? It is clearly seeking an announcement of a policy decision, not an assessment of whether or not a policy is being considered.

MR SPEAKER: It is not calling on the government to announce executive policy, it seems to me. It is just seeking an explanation regarding the policy of the executive in its application. It seems pretty straightforward. I am sure the Treasurer can respond to it.

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. The simple answer to the question is, of course, that at this stage the government has made no such policy decision. That is the answer to the question.

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