Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (1 September) . . Page.. 1687 ..
Ms Carnell: Because you have not brought up one new issue. We have debated these things 40,000 times.
MR CORBELL: This is the time to debate these issues, Chief Minister, and that is why we are doing it. Mr Speaker, the budget is not a clever budget. It is not a caring budget. It is a budget which increases insecurity and breaks down further the fabric of our society in terms of its artistic values, its values of social justice and its ability even to get effective and decent public transport. The Labor Party will not be supporting this appropriation unit.
MR QUINLAN (6.14): This is an item that I ran out of time on last time. First of all, let me say that in the Estimates Committee there was some discussion about information in relation to the business incentive scheme. I trust that moves will be made to ensure that this Assembly is provided with the maximum amount of information to maximise accountability on that particular scheme.
The other item that I wish to mention under this line is the application of the rates formula. Rates were increased by an average of 2.5 per cent this year, for an overall gross take of about 3.3 per cent. To some extent the formula was rejigged in a somewhat regressive manner so that the base charge went up by 9 per cent, to get an average increase of 2.5 per cent. This is not a trend that we would like to see continue indefinitely, inasmuch as we have had screamed at us across the house, "You invented the system". We did invent the system in order to provide for a progressive tax rather than a regressive tax. We would like to be sure that when the Government is applying the rates formula next year rejigging does not continue in such a way as to turn a progressive formula into a flat tax. We had the Government screaming about poll taxes today.
MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (6.16): I wish to make a very small contribution. It concerns something I intended to mention when I spoke before. For the sake of the record, I wish to comment on the specific recommendation the Estimates Committee made on the SACS award. The committee recommended that the Government ensure there is no impact on services or staff as a result of the implementation of the SACS award. I notice that the Government has resolved not to accept that recommendation. The Government says that it will not accept the recommendation that there be no impact on services or staff. It talks about this not being a case of cuts to programs or to funding of services.
This raises a number of rather interesting points, particularly in the context of the ACTCOSS conference which is on over the next couple of days. It is particularly ironic that a major conference hosted by ACTCOSS and aimed at further refining the role of the community sector in the delivery of essential services is being held tomorrow and on Thursday. One of the most significant issues affecting that sector is the impact of the SACS awards. I would like to take the opportunity now to reinforce the essential submission by ACTCOSS and other members within the community sector about the extremely important part which the community sector now plays as the third arm,