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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 28 June 2011) . . Page.. 2691 ..

Let us have a look at what this government office provides. We will get into more of the detail in terms of the government’s numbers on the government office building as we go through the various lines. But let us just focus on the ACT executive and focus on the unnecessary spend that is involved in this budget—$11 million just for the executive wing.

This is a rolled gold, lavish ministerial office spend at a time when Canberra families are being asked to pay more, when those people in Tuggeranong are being told, “You are going to have to pay six per cent more just this year for your rates over and above all of your other expenses.” This is happening at a time when this government, to pay for these sorts of things, is imposing a new tax on units. It is a massive tax on units that will add potentially $40,000, $50,000 and more to the cost of buying a unit and potentially add significant amounts to the cost of renting a unit.

So Katy Gallagher is happy to impose that tax. She is happy to see massive increases for the people of Tuggeranong in their rates. She is happy to pocket all the extra money from the 75 per cent increase in rates over this government’s time in office. It is so that this government can spend money on things like an office block for itself and spend $11 million of that on ministerial offices that are completely unnecessary. It is a waste of taxpayers’ money.

They want us to spend $2 million on a sky bridge. They want us to spend $11 million on lavish ministerial offices and $2 million on a sky bridge that is unnecessary. So we ask the question, and we start here at the top: What is the character of this government? The character of this government is such that it says, “No spending for us is too much. Therefore, we will continue to increase everyone else’s taxes. Everyone in the community will continue to have to pay more.” Why do they have to pay more? It is because the government cannot control its spending. It is because ACT Labor cannot control its spending.

Here we have a prime example of how they cannot control their spending. They should not be spending this money. This is throwing away taxpayers’ money. They have ministerial offices. They do not need new ministerial offices. They do not need the new government office building. They do not need to be spending $430 million of taxpayers’ money on a new government office building.

The extravagance of that spend with the sky bridge and the ministerial offices is a significant example, but only one example of many, where this government, because it does not want to control its spending, because it refuses to control its spending, is imposing cost pressures on Canberra families.

The other thing that came out, in terms of the ACT executive is the number of ministers. Mr Smyth touched on it in his earlier speech. Despite planning on spending all of this money on their new ministerial offices, they have not actually accounted for a growth in the ministry. This is a government that continually says that it wants to see a bigger ministry. When Ms Gallagher was asked whether or not she was going to have five, she said yes, but we do not see it. We do not see it accounted for. She obviously has such confidence in her team that despite arguing that five ministers are not enough, apparently now four is enough.

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