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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 11 Hansard (24 September) . . Page.. 3167 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

I think you have identified a problem, but it is a problem that exists now. There is no rates concession for moving into new premises. I suppose, under the current system, there is economic pressure from escalating rates that is forcing residents to move out. If we wanted to have a system where we were forcing people into the scenario that you talked about, then we would leave the current system in place. However, that is not what we want to do. We want to provide a system that allows people to stay in the home in which they have spent many years, if they want to stay in that home.

MR CORNWELL: Minister, I listened carefully to your response. There is, therefore, no incentive. If they are not going to get a rebate if they move out of a property that they have lived in for many years, they might as well stay in their large house, because there is no advantage in moving out. They are still in the same suburb. How does this fit in with your government's encouragement to curb the broadacre development of housing in preference for in-fill?

I cannot see what incentive there is for elderly people to downsize. If they can stay where they are, they will end up with a rate rebate if they have been in the property for many years. There is no incentive for them to move. How does this help your own government's argument that you wish to encourage in-fill?

MR QUINLAN: Mr Cornwell, if you are talking about people for whom there is no incentive, as you say, you are talking about properties of considerable value, I think. If we are talking about properties where this particular measure, the capping of rates at CPI-and that is what we are talking about, not rebates so much-is sufficient an influence to change a decision on selling, then the property must be worth a lot of money. For the rates differential to be substantial, it does mean that the original property, the home property, is worth a lot of money.

Therefore, I suggest to you that the rates change would be far less of an element in the economic decision to be taken, if it is an economic decision, than your question implies. If we are talking about a very substantial rates differential between going and staying, then we are talking about a very valuable property.

Students with disabilities

MS DUNDAS: My question is to the minister for education. Minister, what is the process regarding consultation and feedback on the draft instrument for assessing the needs of students with disabilities, especially considering the document states that all students who have an identified disability will have their levels of functioning in educational settings assessed using this document in its final form? Are you actually serious about consultation on this model?

MR CORBELL: I thank Ms Dundas for the question. The government is very serious about the development of this draft instrument. It is serious because, for a long time, there has been the need to establish a far more responsive mechanism to address and allocate resources to children with disabilities in the government school system.

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