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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 14 Hansard (Thursday, 9 December 2010) . . Page.. 6143 ..


I did want to focus on the cost of living because when we look at the performance of a government people ask themselves: are we better off? We know when we look at the statistics over the last few years that there have been price rises since 2001 that the government do not seem to care about; they want to add to them at every turn. The price of electricity is up 70 per cent; water price is up 106 per cent, the highest in the country; rent is up 54 per cent; rates up 75 per cent. These are massive numbers. These are massive increases that are far above CPI, far above the rate of growth of wages in the ACT over that period. So people in that situation, average wage earners on those measures, are far worse off.

We know that rents are high. We also know that the cost of buying your first house has gone through the roof. So the cost of housing, the cost of rates, the cost of rent, the cost of water and the cost of electricity have all gone up well above inflation in that time. This is a government that wants to do more to add to those burdens with things like the feed-in tariff, which will add $200 a year to the cost of electricity in the ACT. The government is going to add additional burdens.

We could go on and on in relation to the state of the Stanhope government, but I wanted to reflect on some of what the Canberra Liberals have been doing which is different over these last couple of years and particularly this year. We have seen the Infrastructure Canberra Bill, which is a comprehensive structural reform for infrastructure delivery. This is supported by industry groups and is now before the Assembly.

We have passed the ACT’s first laws to limit government advertising being used for party-political purposes. We have been the only party to critically analyse the budget. We opposed the very flawed virtual district court, which was eventually canned and we saved taxpayers a lot of money. We introduced legislation to create a cooling-off period for ministers taking up positions on government agencies or boards. We pushed for campaign finance reform, leading to establishment of the committee inquiry. We successfully moved to protect the EPIC board from government interference. We pushed to have non-government schools included in the Shaddock review of disability services. We forced the government to backflip on support for disability services in relation to the Shepherd Centre and Noah’s Ark.

We increased the number of individual support packages for people with disabilities, leading to Karyn Costello finally going home after being a dischargeable patient for 1,100 days at Canberra Hospital. We exposed the minister for education’s misinformation to the Non-government Schools Education Council regarding the Canberra Liberals’ position on funding to non-government schools. Attention we brought on the government led to an extension of the consultation period on the recent proposed cuts to Department of Education and Training support staff. We exposed bullying in hospitals, leading to two reviews. We exposed failures in the prison, leading to the Hamburger inquiry.

We proposed health forums and development of a state of our health review. We were the first to highlight the false premise of a botched Calvary sale, now referred to a committee, saving a potentially wasted $77 million. We passed the ACT’s first drug-driving laws. We fought to protect street trees against a $10 million cut and end


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