Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 22 August 2018) . . Page.. 3476 ..
the opportunities for active travel. These are all practical, positive and helpful budget measures for the people of Ginninderra who I am proud to represent and to serve. Therefore, I commend the motion to the Assembly.
MR COE (Yerrabi—Leader of the Opposition) (5.27): I want to speak in glowing terms about the 2018-19 budget. It has been very well printed. It has a lovely cover. It is mostly accessible and somewhat accurate in its description of our debt. I do, however, want to move an amendment to Mr Pettersson’s motion.
MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: Has it been circulated?
MR COE: No, it has not.
MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: Have you provided it to the Clerk?
MR COE: Not yet.
MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: Perhaps you would like to keep speaking to your amendment and you can move it when the Clerk has circulated it.
MR COE: Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. As Ms Le Couteur said, we are debating the appropriation bill right now. In this respect, I am in complete agreement with Ms Le Couteur’s speech. Really, there is very little benefit or very little need to have this particular debate when we will have had four days of discussion on the appropriations.
It is, of course, interesting that the motion that has been moved by Mr Pettersson makes no mention of the huge impact this budget is having on Canberrans, in particular low-income Canberrans. The amendment that I will be moving notes that the government introduced a tax reform package in 2012 with the stated aim of making taxes fairer, simpler and more efficient.
Since then, the total revenue from rates, land tax, stamp duty, insurance levy, and the fire and emergency services levy has grown considerably faster than the combined growth rate of inflation and the number of dwellings. Further to this, the increase in taxation has been regressive, primarily due to significant increases in fixed charges and levies.
Most townhouse, unit and apartment owners are now paying a large portion of their rates in the top marginal bracket. To compound this situation, ACT government concessions have not kept pace with the tax increases. As a result of all this, many Canberrans cannot afford the increasing cost of living in Canberra that has been imposed upon them by the ACT government.
Therefore, I think the Assembly should send a clear message to this government that they need to stop the massive tax increases in this city. They are having a disproportionate impact on low income earners. This is a Labor Party and a Labor government that claim to be progressive; they claim to represent workers; they claim