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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (12 March) . . Page.. 933 ..

MR QUINLAN: If you are referring to the proposed system, the proposed system could, in fact, generate more revenue than the CPI increase. Yes, it could. So could the system that it will replace, in no more and no less a manner. They are just formulae with multipliers in them.

MR SPEAKER: Do you have a supplementary question, Mr Pratt?

MR PRATT: Yes, Mr Speaker. Treasurer, how can you justify introducing a rates system that will result in such a dramatic increase in the rates burden?

MR QUINLAN: The member's question has an inference in it that is not necessarily valid, because he said, "How can you justify a system that will do so?"What we will have-how many times do I have to say it?-is a system that will peg rate increases for tenants who do not change their residence to the CPI and no more. Each time a new premise is acquired, the rates will be applied on the basis of the unimproved value and a formula, pretty well the formula that exists today.

That could give rise, and probably will give rise, to a greater rates revenue than just the CPI overall. The degree to which that is done will depend upon the decisions taken in setting the rate each year, as it is now. There was a commitment to keep the gross rates take at no more than CPI over a number of years by the previous government, which they abided by. But that did not actually provide a CPI ceiling for anybody in particular; it just worked out for some. Some went through the roof and some did not.

Yes, there is a capacity for the rates formula to generate more revenue than CPI. There was that capacity in the system used by the last Liberal government if they did not set that other bar of CPI. There was nothing in the legislation that said, "We will set the overall take at CPI."It was not legislated for and it was not in a formula; it was just something that was done for several years at the same time as the fixed charge was being jacked up to lessen the progressive nature of rating.

In theory, you are right; we could have a rates process that increases the rates take by more than CPI, even allowing for growth, if you know what I mean.

Aboriginal children

MS TUCKER: Mr Speaker, my question, of which some notice has been given, is to the minister for family services, Ms Gallagher. It relates to foster care for Aboriginal children. Minister, given that the previous contract with Open Family expires on 31 March-as I understand it, they have not been providing the service for three months, anyway-and given that there is a serious situation of unmet need in the Aboriginal community for foster placements with Aboriginal families, can you tell the Assembly what progress has been made to rectify this situation?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Ms Tucker for the notice with which she provided me of this question. I understand there have been ongoing discussions between Canberra Foster Care Aboriginal Corporation and my office. They have some concerns about the finalisation of Open Family's involvement as of 31 March, as to what will happen to the

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