Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 November 2007) . . Page.. 3630 ..
point that the Liberal Party in the ACT seeks to cover up with a constant haranguing about rates and charges levied by the ACT and that actually meet the national average, despite the fact that we continue to expend on service delivery, most particularly on health and education, at a rate that is far and above the national average. We are still expending, as a jurisdiction, way above the national average in all major areas of service delivery.
In that context, and having regard to the comparisons that the question invites, since 1996, when the Howard government took office, interest payments on the average mortgage have grown from 31 per cent of average individual earnings to 39 per cent. That is what has happened in the last 11 years: interest payments on the average mortgage over the term of the Howard Liberal government have grown from 31 per cent of average individual earnings to 39 per cent of average individual earnings. That is the size and scale of the increase in interest payments that average Australians have had to pay. The government is continuing to implement its housing affordability action plan, including the release of additional land and affordable house and land packages, to assist households in housing stress.
We do not deny for a minute that there are not significant numbers of Canberrans in stress in terms of the cost of living. Indeed, there are significant numbers of Canberrans in housing stress. The six interest rate rises that Gary Humphries and John Howard promised would not occur are the major drivers of that stress. On an average mortgage in the ACT, an average household is paying $2½ thousand a year more in interest payments as a result of Gary Humphries and John Howard and the promises they made at the last election, which they could not keep, their management of the economy, and the flawed management of the economy by Peter Costello.
I refer again to Peter Martin’s analysis and assessment of the impact of outrageous, uncontrolled expenditure on inflation and interest rates. You refer to him on the one hand when you think there is a glimmer of a point for you to make, but on the other hand, when he actually puts the converse, regarding the impact of Peter Costello’s management of the economy on inflation and the flow-on of that in relation to interest rates, you have a slightly different position—a position that you are not so pleased to champion, although, as we know, Mr Mulcahy is the acolyte and will tug the forelock at anything that Peter Costello does, as he genuflects before—
Ms MacDonald: Before the altar of Costello.
MR STANHOPE: Yes, the altar for the worship of Costello. The bottom line is six consecutive increases, and another foreshadowed for before Christmas, would you believe—the ultimate legacy of Howard, Costello and Gary Humphries. There was an interest rate rise on Family and Community Day, and another foreshadowed by the Reserve Bank before Christmas. John Howard’s Christmas present from the opposition benches, and Gary Humphries’s Christmas present as he seeks to campaign again for the leadership of the Liberal Party in the Assembly—a campaign that he has already commenced—will be a Christmas interest rate rise.
Mr Barr: Richard’s at it, actually.