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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 10 (19 October) . . Page.. 3331..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

tune of $77 million a year, as against their $38 million, is a reflection of the fact that that is the extent or degree to which that mob underresourced emergency services.

In the context of pledges which the Liberal Party have made over the last four months, it is ironic, having just completed a tedious debate around this government's supposed failings in relation to emergency services, that we have to contemplate the fact that Mr Pratt, the shadow minister for emergency services, has pledged that the Liberal Party, if it wins government, will not proceed with the emergency services levy; that the first move of the Liberal Party if elected in two years time, the first piece of legislation to be introduced by the then Treasurer, whoever it may be—I am not prepared to say that it will be Mr Mulcahy—will be to abolish the emergency services levy, $20 million.

The Liberal Party think they can do without it. We have seen Mrs Dunne pledge not to proceed with the water abstraction charge, another $14 million. Yesterday, in all of his language, in his public commentary, in his media statements and positions, the shadow Treasurer suggested that land tax is a crippling tax, is an enormous burden, is holding the town back and cannot be supported. He says he wants a review, which are weasel words, of course, for saying, "I want to abolish this tax."Last year, $63 million of government services were delivered through the land tax. We have also Mr Mulcahy's public comments about the utilities network facilities charge, a $16 million revenue stream which we hope to be in place by next year.

Add those up. This is not a joke. This is not a laughing matter. Since this year's budget, the opposition in this place have, through express statements of Mr Pratt, the shadow minister for emergency services, said that the Liberal Party in government would not persist with an emergency services levy—$20 million gone. Mrs Dunne, the shadow minister for the environment at the time, said, "We will not tolerate the water abstraction charge"—$40 million gone. Mr Mulcahy cannot walk away from his statements yesterday in relation to land tax: "This is a bad tax. This is a crippling tax. This is a tax which cannot be endured. This is a tax which is holding the town back."At what level of the $63 million? Let's say half. Let's be kind here and say half, $30 million.

Opposition members interjecting

MR SPEAKER: Order! Chief Minister, direct your comments through the chair. Members of the opposition will cease interjecting. Chief Minister, take no notice of them.

MR STANHOPE: Then there is the utilities network facilities charge of $16 million. Even if you are generous and say that Mr Mulcahy really has signalled that he will simply cut land tax in half, we are talking here about explicit pledges by the Liberal Party of about $80 million of revenue cuts. What would be the implication of that? The implication is that they would go back to where they were in relation to emergency services funding. They would go back to where they were, the lowest funding jurisdiction in Australia, on mental health. We know about that. They would go back to where we were on disability services. Who has forgotten the Gallop inquiry, the royal commissions into this mob's stewardship of disability services? (Time expired.)


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