Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 24 November 2022) . . Page.. 3840 ..
Basic maintenance of our streets, green spaces and footpaths has been utterly neglected by Labor and the Greens. Yes, we have had unseasonably high levels of rain due to La Niña, but the Labor-Greens government will not and cannot scale up their operations to address it because they have no money left in the bank. They are cutting garbage collection across the whole city because they have run out of money. Potholes litter our streets, leaves are left unswept and streetlights go unfixed. Even the Greens asked a question about that in question time today. Local shops are neglected, all because this Labor-Greens government prioritises the tram above all other essential government services.
Labor and the Greens have borrowed, they have taxed and they have overstretched our city’s finances beyond any sensible and responsible measure to pay for the tram. Canberrans will be paying more than half a billion dollars each year to cover the Treasurer’s interest bill by 2025-26. That is half a billion dollars each year on interest repayments alone. What Canberrans want to know is: what are we getting for the record level of debt, record level of taxes and record level of public spending? Where has the money gone?
To cap it all off, we recently heard, through the federal budget, that the Labor-Greens government did a deal with federal Labor to divert much-needed funding, originally destined for important road upgrades, to help pay for stage 2A. Those were three important road upgrades at a time when road safety has never been more important. But almost $90 million of federal funding is now going to help transfer Canberrans from the city to the middle of Commonwealth Park.
The question that many Canberrans should be and are asking is this: what is next? What is next on the chopping block? Health, education, community safety, public housing, road upgrades—it seems no essential government service is safe when it comes to pillaging to pay for the tram.
Mr Parton has given this government, this minister, yet another opportunity to come clean, another opportunity to be up-front and transparent with the public. Tell Canberrans what else you will be cutting next, how much you will be borrowing and how much more Canberrans will need to pay in record taxes to pay for the tram. That is the question that Canberrans are asking, and that is the question that Canberrans should be asking.
I thank Mr Parton for his ongoing advocacy for transparency and accountability from this Labor-Greens government, especially when it comes to being up-front with the people that have given this government the privilege of making important decisions on their behalf. The key question is: what other critical government services are at stake for this Labor-Greens government to continue to pay for the tram? I commend Mr Parton’s motion to the Assembly.
MS DAVIDSON (Murrumbidgee—Assistant Minister for Families and Community Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Justice Health, Minister for Mental Health, Minister for Veterans and Seniors) (4.54): As a local member for Murrumbidgee, I would like to say a few words in support of Minister Steel’s amendment. We all want an accessible and easy to navigate city; am I right? Yes. We all want that. But population growth is coming. Canberra has long been quite car