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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 June 2010) . . Page.. 2098 ..


being withheld. There was a lot of discussion about that. What we saw was a sanitising of that evidence.

We do have concerns that the ACT government have signed up to give up and have withheld from them far more GST than other jurisdictions. We saw Colin Barnett speaking again yesterday. He has held out. Other states held out and then signed up, but they held out for more; they held out for something. This government signed it over and signed over more than everyone else. They did not sign over 30 per cent; they did not sign over 40 per cent; they signed over around 50 per cent of our GST, and it became very clear in the hearings that the government do not know what they have signed up to. In fact, the Rudd government do not know what they have signed up to, because we see that even in recent weeks they have been changing it again. One of the keys elements of the reform has had to be changed because they have not got the details right, yet we signed up at the first opportunity to give up 50 per cent of our GST when other states were giving up 30 per cent for exactly the same commitment from the commonwealth.

We also have the situation of the impact of this budget on families. We see it in relation to parking; we see it in relation to this massive tax on homes which is going to be imposed on buyers of units. It is interesting that the main report does not actually cover off on the evidence of Mr Ahmed, where he acknowledged that it can go three ways. He did not put a figure on where it is going to go, but we know it is going to go amongst these three groups: owners, builders or buyers, or all three or two of the three. We know that this tax will affect potentially all three of those groups. It may well, as is often the case, affect buyers the most. It may well affect first homebuyers the most, those who cannot any more afford the dream of owning a house in the suburbs and whose only way into ownership is to buy a unit. They will now be slapped with a $30,000 tax or a $40,000 tax or a $50,000 tax, depending on where they buy.

This is critical to this budget; this is critical to how we grow the ACT; this is critical to those who will be forced to pay far more than they pay at the moment. We know that Canberrans are already being asked to pay more, and we know that they continue to get less in so many areas.

In the short time I have left I will comment on what I think reflects on the priorities of this government—$26 million extra for the arboretum, less money for street trees. There are so many other areas where we see the government not getting the funding mix right. We can point to all sorts of areas, but this one crystallises just how out of touch this government is. This is a government that says that it is important that Jon Stanhope’s legacy project be upgraded and grown and has $26 million injected into it at a time when it is failing and ripping money out of the street trees program, the street trees that people hold so dear. That epitomises and crystallises the lack of priorities of the government and how out of touch this government is. It is only the Canberra Liberals who will hold this government to account for its actions and its lack of priorities.

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella) (10.33): It has been both a contributing and illuminating estimates process we have just been through. It was a contest not unlike the World Cup between politics and parliamentarians with the score being


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