Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 29 November 2022) . . Page.. 3977 ..
come forward today, still with no solutions and still in the context of opposing some of the very real measures that this government and my party have put forward that will actually make a difference to the cost of living.
We will be supporting the amendment put forward by Mr Barr today. As he outlined in his remarks, it identifies a range of the measures that are being put in place by this government—really practical measures that are designed to assist Canberrans to tackle the cost of living pressures.
Federally, my party will continue to make the case on some of these matters as well. We are fierce supporters of the need to raise the rate, to help lift people out of poverty. We saw it during the pandemic. When people started getting a more substantial amount of money to assist them under those pandemic response measures we saw a drop in the poverty rate. There are all sorts of testimonies out there. People could really practically see the difference. It removed enormous pressures from them and actually helped them meet those day-to-day living expenses.
We will be supporting the industrial relations bill nationally, which the Chief Minister spoke of, which will again seek to ensure that the workers in this country are getting a fair share of the economic wealth that is being generated in this country. For that reason, I feel confident that my party, my members, are very focused on these issues and we are bringing practical measures to the table, some of which are described in this motion. That is why we will be supporting the amendment moved by Mr Barr.
MS LEE (Kurrajong—Leader of the Opposition) (4.31): We should not be surprised that Mr Barr has moved an amendment—three pages of yet another congratulatory amendment. He even says in his speech that these are issues that I have raised before—and I certainly have—and he goes through a lot of what he calls a recap about some of the policies and programs and initiatives that this government has put forward.
While that is all well and good, the key question really is: why is it not working? The fact is, if all of those initiatives that Mr Barr outlined in his amendment are the response and the answer to the cost of living crisis that we have here in our city, the key question should surely be: why are they not working? The fact is that Labor and the Greens continue to bury their heads in the sand. They continue to deny responsibility and they continue to deny that perhaps, just perhaps, their policies are not providing the relief that they claim that they are—that maybe, just maybe, they have not got everything right in this space.
Mr Barr spent a lot of his time talking about wages and about jobs. He is always good at talking about the different positions of the federal parties. If, as we know, the ACT has the highest average income in the nation and the ACT enjoys the lowest unemployment in the nation, why are we facing a cost of living crisis that is arguably the worst in the nation? Why do we have almost 40,000 Canberrans living in poverty, including 9,000 children?
I do not pretend that there is a magic bullet and I never have. That is why I have always raised these concerns—the concerns raised with me by so many in our community that are doing it so tough, that are hurting so badly and have called for more work to be done