Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (1 July) . . Page.. 2057 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
We need a system very much like the system the Government puts forward today in the Rates and Land Tax (Amendment) Bill to generate fairness of outcome and consistency of approach from year to year. We are increasing the flat fee component to reflect the actual level of consumption of government services in the ACT, as the Labor Party asked us to do in 1997. That is what was asked of us at that time. Mr Whitecross said that it was a flaw in the system that we did not link that fee more specifically to government services.
We are now doing that, and the Labor Opposition is seeking to oppose the Bill. Of course, that includes Ms Tucker. What are we supposed to do instead? We are told that we have to set some sort of target for this. Our target, in a broad sense, is to more accurately approach the actual cost of government services which everybody in the ACT consumes. A person who lives in a very expensive house that consumes more of a particular type of service obviously may pay more on the fluctuating component. But presumably that person will still use the same amount of other services such as garbage services as a person who lives in a very modest place in Monash, for argument's sake. We are targeting those fixed services everybody consumes. We obviously cannot give a dollar figure for that, because from year to year that changes, and probably increases. Why is it that the Assembly is now faced with the Labor Party and Ms Tucker saying that they - - -
Ms Tucker: You are making a bit of an assumption.
MR HUMPHRIES: It is a pretty fair assumption, based on your performance in the last 18 months, Ms Tucker.
Ms Tucker: You might be wrong. I look at the issues on their merit. You are just wrong.
MR HUMPHRIES: Ms Tucker, shock us and vote in favour of our Bill. In the absence of any better formula from the Labor Party and Ms Tucker, I think we have to ask ourselves what it is that they want. If we asked them today to spell out what their ultimate target was for other government fees and charges, they would not be able to do it. You were almost in government. But for one vote, you would have been sitting over here today. If I asked you now what rate of taxation you were going to set into the foreseeable future, I think I would expect some sort of answer, a general answer. But I am not going to get that answer, am I, Mr Quinlan? If you cannot answer that question, with great respect, why should we? In the absence of an answer to that question, the Rates and Land Tax (Amendment) Bill 1999 should be passed by the Assembly tonight.
MS TUCKER (4.49): The Liberal Party seems to find it a strange concept, but I do look at each issue on its merits. The fact that I do often vote with Labor just shows that they are on a more consistent path with the Greens' policy. We obviously have policies more in sympathy with them than I have with the Liberal Party, and we are not surprised about that either. But surprisingly enough, I am not opposing this piece of legislation.