Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 8 Hansard (23 August) . . Page.. 2536..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
commensurate with an increase in CPI and not commensurate with the cost to government as reflected through the wage price index.
This is a remarkable suggestion by the shadow treasurer, that governments can deliver a service that costs, say, $10 as a result of the inclusion in that cost of wages and the annual increase in wages reflected through the wage price index, and at a time when there has been a $9 CPI increase—the greatest cost or part of government service delivery, of course, being reflected in wages—but the full cost of wages should not be reflected in the cost of the government service delivery and we should simply accommodate somehow the $1 differential between wage price and CPI.
Mr Mulcahy puts out these releases berating a government for seeking to reflect in its charges the cost of delivering the services, and if that cost, through a measure he would prefer, the CPI, is greater, where is the difference to be made up? Where will he get the money that constitutes the difference between CPI and wage price index in the cost of delivering a government service? Which magic wand will he use? Which hollow log does he think exists? Where does the government go? Look at the examples. Yesterday, Mr Barr, in answer to a question or in debate, referred to the percentage of the education budget that is reflected in wages. I think it is nine out of every $10.
Mr Mulcahy: It is not the territory figure, though, for the whole of the territory.
MR STANHOPE: I think it is 90 per cent.
Mr Mulcahy: No, it is not 90 per cent.
MR STANHOPE: What is it?
Mr Mulcahy: It is 80 per cent.
MR STANHOPE: So, 80 per cent of the cost of delivering education in the ACT is in salaries—around 80 per cent. Around 80 per cent of the cost of delivering education services in the territory is reflected in wages, yet Mr Mulcahy wants to perpetuate a fiction that we can somehow discount that full cost in meeting the cost of those services. It is nonsense. It is a classic case of the simple, bottom-line fundamental of a job, that the money in must equal the money out. It costs so much to deliver government services and they have to be paid for. We in the ACT have historically paid about 20 per cent more than the national average, and that is the issue that we have tackled and attacked through this most recent budget. To suggest now that we should continue this fiction—
MR SPEAKER: Order! The Chief Minister's time has expired.
MR MULCAHY: I ask a supplementary question. What impact does the Treasurer believe increased government charges, including the switch to wage price increases, will have on people who are not property owners? Were those people considered in the government's deliberations?
MR STANHOPE: Yes, they were. The government was very sensitive to the impact of the increases in rates and charges on individual members of the Canberra community. That was very much in its thinking. The range of rates and charges and the increases that