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

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 4 Hansard (11 April) . . Page.. 991 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

The terms of reference of the public accounts committee make it pretty clear that we are looking at the broader government's issues, and that is what the committee picked up. We received a couple of submissions that were more related to education and health. Although the comments were interesting, I do not think they fit in very clearly with our terms of reference.

Various submissions were certainly within our terms of reference. One of these was from the ACT Council of Social Service, which had a number of recommendations about broader governance issues, including developing a people's charter, which is a similar notion to a bill of rights. The notion of the charter is that it would affirm the rights and entitlements of all members of our community, including people experiencing poverty, and ensure that all members of our community are treated with dignity and respect. That is an important broad issue.

ACTCOSS have a very strong position on poverty, social exclusion and so on. They talked about people in poverty and how best to address poverty. They made comments-as has my committee, the health committee-about the need for a purchaser/provider review which, as I have already said, the government is going to undertake. The need for increasing consumer and service provider participation is also very important in terms of democratic processes.

Access to and awareness of community services was also stressed by ACTCOSS. Their concern about reducing financial inequality was also very relevant to the PAC. They are wanting to see a community-based review of taxation that focuses on increasing revenue and boosting equality by ensuring a progressive taxation system. This is something that has been called for by ACTCOSS and the Greens for years, and I would hope to see a positive response to this by the new Labor government. Housing and transport were also raised as general issues. Other issues included advocacy needs and improved data collection to inform how government works and social plans fit into that. They are all very important points.

The Canberra Business Council also put in a comprehensive submission which raised a number of issues of concern to them, and they are listed in the report. I do not necessarily agree with everything that they said but they made some very good points, some of which I do agree with. I was interested in the discussion that occurred with the Canberra Business Council about revenue, business incentives and the competitive bidding between states that occurs to try to encourage businesses to come to the ACT.

The Business Council said that they were concerned about social issues such as the need to provide proper support for an ageing population and the changing demographic of our city. We had an interesting discussion about how they thought government's capacity to earn revenue sat with their desire and the desire of other business groups to see this competitive bidding occur between states. Obviously it suits them if they are being provided with incentives to set up business in different places. But this does have a consequence, which is loss of revenue capacity by governments which have responsibility for addressing social needs. There was an interesting discussion that I hope we will see continued in this place and in the broader community.

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