Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 9 Hansard (17 August) . . Page.. 3735..
MR CORNWELL (continuing):
The horticulture and cleaning original target was 95 per cent, and the actual result was 90 per cent. No explanation has been given. For tree maintenance service the original target was 70 per cent, and the actual result was 55 per cent. The increased workload was due to additional public reports of dead and fallen trees and lower timeliness due to higher than expected demand. This is from the Urban Services portfolio, output 1.4, of the July 2004 quarterly performance report.
Those examples have not mentioned litter, and I do not need to draw attention to this except to make the point that this government cracks down on littering offences to such an extent that we have had only 41 offences in the last 12 months. Equally, we only had 21 graffitists tracked down. In regard to lighting in older suburbs-Forrest, Griffith and Deakin-I have had complaints from those three suburbs about the appalling lighting. As to broken footpaths, plenty of them are marked around the place, but nobody ever seems to do anything about repairing many of these.
Finally, on the subject of kangaroos, did you know, Mr Speaker, that the carcasses of 48 kangaroos were counted from Theodore to Fyshwick on the city-bound lane alone on 13 August? What does this say about the capacity of the government to look after the city? This has got nothing to do with the drought, I hasten to add, or water restrictions. Litter and lighting and graffiti cannot possibly have anything to do with that, but it has everything to do with this government's priorities. The money is there and it should be made available. When I say the money is there, I am indebted to the June quarterly management report, which was tabled today for the financial quarter and the year to date ending 30 June 2004.
When we look at attachment "Bravo", we see that the total general tax-that is, payroll tax, general rates, land tax and debit tax-has risen $17.4 million on the budget forecast. Total duties-that is, stamp duties, conveyances, general insurance, hiring duty, leases, life insurance, motor vehicle registration and transfers-have a rise of $77.7 million. Gambling taxes-that is, licence fees for the TAB, bookmakers' turnover tax, gaming and casino tax-are up $1,070,000. Other taxes-that is, ambulance levy, general insurance levy, fire reconstruction-are up by $9.12 million. All of these are increases on the budget forecast.
What is this government doing with this money? It certainly is not putting it back into the appearance of the city, and I want to know why. Isn't it about time those of us-and I am talking about the majority of people in this city-who pay the rates, who pay the taxes, get something back for it? Aren't we entitled to something? Or is it all to be directed into bills of rights and various strategies to address homelessness and poverty, et cetera-perhaps addressed to banning legal things such as cigarette vending machines and endorsing illegal substances that you can get from syringe vending machines?
The majority of people in this city are entitled to something in return for the money they are paying out. If we are not to provide this funding and pour it back into the city, what will we end up with? It is all very well for this government to ease its social conscience with other people's money-and in doing this they of course concentrate on minorities-but I would suggest that the majority of people who live in this city who pay their taxes deserve to get some benefit from their efforts. And, may I remind you, so does Australia. This is the national capital. We cannot afford to have it looking run-down and grubby.