Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 5 Hansard (8 May) . . Page.. 1739 ..
MS DUNDAS (continuing):
of $200 per annum on the approximately 2,200 parking spaces in Civic alone could result in an immediate 13 per cent increase in the number of bus services on every route on every work day. If this were matched dollar for dollar from the road works budget, we could have at least a 26 per cent increase in bus services by July 2004. Twenty-six per cent more bus services would mean more routes at night, on weekends, as well as in peak periods. Commuters would be able to truly "discover the pluses of buses".
Given that the government will be receiving additional payments from paid parking in Belconnen, Tuggeranong and Barton, and that there will be a new parking levy on private car parks in commercial areas, I believe the government has a responsibility to provide improved public transport services to these areas to make buses a viable alternative.
The Treasurer claimed that my suggestion of a parking levy was a budget leak, and I assure him it wasn't. Maybe it was the other way around. My costings reflected the number of commercial spaces in Civic-as I said, around 2,200 and a rate of $200 per annum. In media comments, the Treasurer said his calculations were also based on $200 per year. So I am interested to know how the Treasurer works out that introducing this levy in Civic, Woden, Belconnen and Tuggeranong would still net only $2.5 million. I assure you this is something we will continue to explore in estimates.
The ACT Democrats support earmarking the revenue from any parking levy towards the provision of public transport, as is done in New South Wales and Western Australia. Despite what the Treasurer has said, it appears that the ACT government does not currently have a public transport plan. We welcome the funding for the development of the sustainable transport plan, but after 18 months of reviewing planning and transport, this community expects this to be backed up with real resources to change Canberra's transport usage.
Mr Speaker, no-one in this community would doubt that housing in Canberra has become less affordable over the last couple of years. The housing boom just continues to grow. A real investment this year in public housing could substantially reduce spending on crisis and emergency housing in future years, as well as easing the immediate burden.
The ACT government has been a major beneficiary of the high housing prices in the ACT. The stamp duty windfall in last year's budget was not a one-off. This year the stamp duty on conveyances was up by $24 million, yet Treasury continues to conservatively estimate stamp duty into the future. Of the $24 million windfall, housing receives just $3 million extra.
If the government were serious about tackling the lack of affordable housing, they should have allocated much more of this windfall into public housing stock. Further, a modest investment in assistance to private renters, such as guaranteeing rental bonds to encourage people out of public housing and into the private rental market, could reap substantial benefits as we alleviate pressure on public housing and help people to stay out of crisis.
The 2003-04 target number of ACT Housing dwellings is lower than the target for 2002-03. Not only is the Stanhope government failing to reverse the decline that began under