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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 19 September 2006) . . Page.. 2884 ..

Government taxes and charges

Discussion of matter of public importance

MR SPEAKER: I have received letters from Dr Foskey, Mr Gentleman, Ms MacDonald, Mr Mulcahy, Ms Porter and Mr Stefaniak proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly. In accordance with standing order 79, I have determined that the matter proposed by Mr Mulcahy be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

The burden and impact of ACT Government taxes and charges on the people of Canberra.

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (3.58): The 2006-07 ACT budget will go down in infamy as the budget that condemned the people of Canberra to years of acute and progressively worse financial pain. It was the inevitable product of over four years of economic mismanagement and irresponsible government, a period of time that many ACT taxpayers will not easily forget, particularly now that their newly inflated rate notices are appearing in their letterboxes, some of which have already had to be paid in recent weeks.

Looking down the list of increased charges and newly created levies passed down in this year’s budget, it makes for difficult reading. The new fire and emergency services levy will cost households an extra $84 per year. The new utility land use permit will cost ACT households at least an additional $15 per year. A 30c per kilolitre increase to the water abstraction charge will cost households an extra $137 per year. Land rates have increased by six per cent—not to mention revaluations—which translates into dollar increases ranging from $63 to $403 per household.

Putting this in perspective, a ratepayer in Oaks Estate, which is one of the most disadvantaged parts of my electorate, now pays about $915 in charges in relation to their property—up from $611 in 2005-06. Charnwood residents now pay $1,021—up from $698. A household in Banks will pay $1,106—up from $762. In the northern part of my electorate, Harrison residents now pay $1,234 on their property—up from $752. That is an extraordinary increase.

Shockingly, these residents have suffered increases in their combined government property charges ranging from 45 to 64 per cent. If that is not enough, if an ACT ratepayer wants to contest their rates assessment they will have to find a $64 objection fee unless it relates to a land valuation case. In that case a $20 fee applies. Of course, if you want to succeed in relation to an objection to your land valuation, your chances of succeeding are going to be pretty remote unless you retain the services of a valuation firm.

It is interesting when we compare this taxation system to what is prevailing at the federal government level. The federal Liberal government has recently introduced its fourth round of income tax cuts in as many years, as well as increased maternity payments, increased family tax benefits, expanded large-family supplements and a new fuel tax credit system.

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