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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 17 November 2010) . . Page.. 5498 ..


Currently, $100 of the cost of water in the ACT is directly attributable to the cost of water security. We know that the blow-out in the cost is going to add to that 106 per cent increase in water by another $120 a year by the time we get to 2013. That is the administrative negligence of the Stanhope government. The raising of the water abstraction charge, the imposition of the utilities tax, the delay over water security—all of these things have driven up the cost of water to what is, according to Engineers Australia and almost every source you look at, the most expensive water in Australia and, at least, the most expensive water in any capital city in Australia.

Perth gets a substantial proportion of its water from desalination, which is expensive water because of the energy cost that goes into it. It has cheaper water than Canberra where we get gravity-fed, mountain-delivered water.

Mr Stanhope: What is the cost in Perth of water?

MRS DUNNE: I will come back to you. I cannot tell you off the top of my head. I do not have the figure on—

Ms Gallagher: I think you will find it is cheaper here.

MRS DUNNE: It is cheaper in Perth, even though they desalinate it. I will come back to it, because I will get the opportunity to speak again. In addition to that, we need to look at one of the other issues that really impact on Mick and Melinda—that is, the cost of childcare. It is interesting that the cost of childcare has been going up and up, and the minister is always saying, “It’s not really an issue for us.”

I notice there was a thing a little while ago when the minister attempted, in her usual ham-fisted way, to lambaste the opposition for having a scare campaign about the cost of childcare. She said in her press release that childcare increases and childcare reforms would mean that childcare would increase by no more than a cup of coffee a day. If a cup of coffee a day is $3, you are doing pretty well. I know a couple of places where you can get it for $3—a small one. Mick and Melinda are going to be paying an extra $30 a fortnight, and that is an extra $780 a year. Out of the $10,000 they have got left, Ms Burch’s cup of coffee a day is going to take another $780 out of Mick and Melinda’s disposable income.

These are the things that we are talking about, Mr Speaker. This is why Mr Seselja has brought forward this motion. The most important part of this motion is that we call upon the government—I cannot see how anyone could possibly object to this—to put a statement of the cost of living in each budget to inform the Assembly and the community of the key cost of living impacts of the policies enunciated in the budget. What could be more transparent and what could be less objectionable?

MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens) (10.42): There can be no doubt that there are many people in our community who are doing it tough, very tough. Poverty and disadvantage exist in what is, by any standard, a very wealthy community. We are very fortunate to have the wealth and opportunities that we have. However, as I said, we can by no means be complacent about the significant financial pressures that face some in our community.


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