Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (2 September) . . Page.. 1837 ..
MR HARGREAVES (continuing):
by this is not all that great. Motorcyclists have been slugged rates increases far in excess of the impact motorcycles have on roads and the environment. Indeed, the increases in percentage terms are far in excess of those for other vehicles. You have to ask why. Indeed, the Motorcycle Riders Association did just that. They asked why, and what response did they get? The same as everyone, nothing. These increases are revenue-raising measures, and the increases are portrayed as minimal, justified and necessary.
Let me debunk some of the Government's reasons. Firstly, it says the increases are necessary because of wear and tear on the roads - the weight stuff. It is basing it upon the weight of the vehicle. If this was so motorcycles would cost very little to register and the large vehicles would be really expensive, but the rationale of a staged increase does not hold. Secondly, the Government says it is to address fuel emissions. The same argument applies to motorcycles. However, increasing costs on older vehicles provides a drain on the family budget, and people cannot afford to trade into vehicles which are more environmentally friendly. These are only a couple of the reasons there. The reasons are legend. Mr Speaker, one can argue about the first and second furphies all night and give examples. This has been done before ad nauseam, but still the Government does not listen.
The third furphy is the comparison with New South Wales. The Government has used this hoary old line to justify many of its draconian measures. However, this time they have got it wrong, badly wrong, and they have been sprung by no less an authority than the New South Wales branch of the NRMA. Mr Speaker, I did a comparison of registration costs in the ACT under the new regime as at 1 September this year against that of New South Wales in July this year and September this year. In July the fees were roughly the same. I think the difference was about $4. However, in July, this year before the Government was locked into the registration fee increase, the New South Wales Government announced the cancellation of the $43 TransCover levy. So, Mr Speaker, in September this year, to register a medium-sized family vehicle, it will cost you $265 in the ACT, but $217 in New South Wales. It will cost you $48 more to register it here. I ask: What consistency is there with New South Wales under that example? Mr Speaker, this example is, for me, a fine example of how the Government will use fraudulent language in fostering hideous increases in family expenditure like these registration increases, like the insurance levy hoodwink, and like the zonal fee fiasco.
Mr Speaker, I will conclude by saying that I found the format difficult to follow, highway robbery easily proved when detected, reasons proffered in arrogance and deception, and yet services provided by hardworking, dedicated officers who provide as close to best practice service as they can under a cloud of threat, uncertainty, constant change and a lack of confidence expressed to them by their political masters. In this, my first exposure to the ramrod antics of budgeting presented by this Government, I was, and remain, not surprised but disappointed.
MR QUINLAN (8.29): Mr Speaker, I want to underscore a couple of things that Mr Hargreaves said, particularly using motor vehicle registration as an example, and specifically that of motorcycles which have been disproportionately increased, chasing an inflated fee in New South Wales which has since decreased, leaving us out of kilter. The Government has not thought through what it is doing and what the reaction will be.