Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

None . . Page.. 1118 ..

The Labor Party does accept most of the proposals in the legislation and we accept them because they do implement election promises. That is a very rare event for this Government so far. However, I will seek to move the amendments I have outlined, because I believe that they will ensure a fairer rating system for Canberrans. By way of conclusion, I would like again to say how disappointed I am that I have sought from the Government information that would have given me a greater insight, a greater capacity to scrutinise this legislation, and it has not been provided in time for me to bring it to light in this debate. I think that is a very sad state of affairs, particularly as I know that that information is available.

MR DE DOMENICO (Minister for Urban Services) (4.22): This is an excellent Bill, quite obviously. It proves once again that what the Liberal Party promises we deliver, and we deliver it very quickly as well. I am not going to take much of the Assembly's time. I am just going to comment on some of the phrases Ms Follett used. Ms Follett talked about a fairer rating system for Canberrans and said that this Bill does not deliver that. People tend to forget things from time to time, and under Ms Follett's regime one wonders whether she knew what happened to the people who lived in Macarthur. Under Ms Follett's fairer rating system, their rates went up 62 per cent. I heard someone else in the Labor Party say, “Yes, but that is because property valuations went up the same way”.

Ms Follett: What happened to them this year?

MR DE DOMENICO: CPI this year, Ms Follett. Rates in Chisholm, under Ms Follett's regime, went up 41 per cent; in Bruce, 60-odd per cent; in Ainslie, 30-odd per cent; and so it went on. We had a situation in Banks, for example, where the rates went up to the tune of 31 per cent. Over the road in Bonython - same services, same neighbourhood - they went up by about 40 per cent. Quite rightly, people in Bonython said, “Why did our rates bill go up so much? We are getting no different services”. This piece of legislation is eminently fair. It is a fair rating system to say that, until we assess the way we charge rates here in the ACT, if we are going to increase rates at all let us link them to the CPI and nothing else. I do not think there is any fairer system than that.

On the other point Ms Follett made about public servants who need to go overseas for their careers, we accept that. But when that property is earning income we believe that land tax should be charged on it; when it is not earning income, perhaps it should not be. Once again, I cannot see how the logic can be any fairer than that. For the Labor Party to stand up and criticise and rebuke the Liberal Party for the rating situation is just a nonsense. As I said, there is no justification at all for anyone's rates to go up by 62 per cent, 41 per cent, 60 per cent or 30 per cent.

I will be very interested, when the figures are available, once they are finished - I have not seen the figures either - to see what has happened in areas like Ainslie and Downer and whether Ms Follett's suggestion that they have not gone up at all or have gone up by very little is true. I will be very interested to see those figures.

Mr Whitecross: So would we all.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .