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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (11 March) . . Page.. 866..


Land rates-new system

MR STEFANIAK

: My question is to the Treasurer. Treasurer, I refer to a report in the Canberra Times on 11 March this year, indicating that you are planning to introduce a new rates system. It was reported that, under this system, existing leaseholders would face rates increases no greater than CPI each year, but new home buyers buying into a suburb would be rated on the unimproved value of the property they bought. Treasurer, will this system not lead to the situation in which a wealthy property developer, or a very senior, well-off public servant who has lived in Forrest for a long time, would pay lower rates than battlers buying their first home in Dunlop?

MR QUINLAN

: Theoretically, yes, but it would take a long time. Of course, Mr Stefaniak, what your question does not take into account is the fact that the formula that is applied to the unimproved value is still open to adjustment each year. Each year that formula has been changed and it has been changed to achieve the result that it failed to achieve. It achieved a result at the gross level but was still, I think, unfair to given individuals.

The new system that will be brought in does not preclude the government from dampening the effect of galloping unimproved value prices in the formula. It is just a number. It is a number that has been voted on nearly every year, each time the budget comes around. There is no reason for that system to change.

MR STEFANIAK

: Thank you for that, Mr Quinlan, but will your somewhat short-sighted new rates system potentially drive new home buyers across the border to New South Wales, where they will pay rates under what is perceived to be a much fairer and more obvious system?

MR SPEAKER

: That is hypothetical, Mr Stefaniak. I will not allow that question.

Police-level of services

MR PRATT

: My question is to the Minister for Police, Mr Wood. The recent report on government services showed that, where Australia had a national figure of 281 sworn police officers per 100,000 in 2001-2002, in the ACT there are 242 sworn police officers per 100,000 people. Is it still government policy to provide the people of the ACT with a lower level of police services than the rest of Australia?

MR WOOD

: It is remarkable that Mr Pratt should simply stand up and blandly say that we are getting a lower level of police services than the rest of Australia. How about giving me a question that has some basis in fact, or giving me a statistic other than the one you did? I am not of the view-

Mrs Dunne

: The report on government services.

Mr Stefaniak

: It sounded pretty factual to me.

Mrs Dunne

: It sounded pretty factual.


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