Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 3 Hansard (26 February) . . Page.. 1049..
MR SMYTH (continuing):
costs in considering environmental performance and, moreover, problems remain with the implementation of this policy. As is the case with so much of what the Stanhope-Gallagher government has attempted, this policy suffers from a complete lack of consultation.
We also note the disingenuous approach of the Chief Minister and former Treasurer when introducing this policy last year. He said that the impact of the new duty regime on vehicles with a poorer environmental performance would result in a slight increase in duty to be paid. I am not sure whether a slight increase of anything as high as 33 per cent can be considered as "slight". I think Mr Stanhope needs to go home and do some study, along with Mr Hargreaves, on maths 101.
This policy is a tax break for the rich. If you can afford to buy a more expensive vehicle, and some of the Lotus vehicles get this break as do some of the Mercedes classes of vehicles, you get the tax break. But it then attacks the less well off, those who cannot afford to buy such expensive vehicles. It attacks families who, by the nature and size of their families, have to buy larger vehicles which are penalised.
It attacks small business. Business needs to carry goods. We have got the Deputy Chief Minister and Treasurer saying we need to stimulate the economy, we need to particularly help the construction industry, we are going to bring forward all these capital works, but we are going to make it more expensive to buy a work vehicle, particularly a ute. It is an attack on tradesmen; it is a tax on tradies. Those people that I think all of us find hard to get to come to our homes to do minor repairs and renovations are now going to pay more taxes to the Stanhope-Gallagher government because they cannot get their management of the budget right.
This disallowance should go ahead. If this place wants to have a genuine scheme that changes the way we purchase vehicles and rewards those that buy more environmentally friendly vehicles, let us have that scheme. Let us have some sort of inquiry in the environment committee or tell the government to go away and do the work. But just to be seen to be doing something is not acceptable. We hear from the Greens so often—I used to hear it from Kerrie Tucker; I used to hear it from Deb Foskey—about the precautionary principle: first do no harm. Well, find out what the real impact of these vehicles is. The issue of the whole-of-life costs for supposedly environmentally friendly vehicles has been raised in several forums.
The Liberal Party stands by this disallowance today. We are not against the concept of schemes that reward those that do the right thing for the environment, but the schemes have to be effective. They actually have to carry out what they purport to do. They should not disadvantage groups like large families and small businessmen and tradies, and they should actually be equitable and sustainable in the long term. This disallowance should be agreed to by the Assembly.
That Mr Smyth's motion be agreed to.
The Assembly voted—