Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 5 Hansard (8 May) . . Page.. 1750 ..
MR CORNWELL (continuing):
course, the Gungahlin Drive extension has passed beyond being a local scandal. This work is now listed for completion in June 2006, 12 months beyond what was originally intended.
Mr Smyth also mentioned the problems in municipal services. Path maintenance will increase by $200,000 from the previous year but the outcome will see 2,800 metres less pathway. Waste and recycling will decrease by $1.3 million. Spending on sports grounds and asset maintenance in the 2003-04 budget is over $600,000 less than that forecast as the estimated expenditure for 2002-03. I wonder whether this is going to lead to a decline in the upkeep of these community facilities.
If expenditure in the previous year was higher as a result of increased water consumption due to the drought, the government obviously has not taken into consideration that we are still in drought and that stage 2 water restrictions are still in place. Of course, if they have taken this into consideration then this means that even less funding from the 2003-04 budget will be available for maintenance. I also note that spending on domestic animal services has increased by only around 2 per cent, well below CPI, and I wonder whether that will be sustainable.
Finally, the government has funded the upgrade of the Holder shopping centre by some half a million dollars, and I welcome that, as I am sure the residents of Holder do. However, it has neglected to allocate funding for improvement to the Duffy shopping centre, in spite of its public pledge in Community Update No 10, the PR exercise of this Labor government in relation to the bushfires, that improvements would be made after the fires. They went on to talk about lighting. Well, where is the money, Mr Wood, or can't you be bothered? Is it ex-budget or something of that nature?
Mr Pratt: It's on the tree.
MR CORNWELL: It is on the tree-the money tree. Thank you, Mr Pratt. I would look forward to an explanation in due course, Mr Wood. Perhaps we can chase this up in estimates.
Mr Wood: I think it's this year's budget.
MR CORNWELL: Perhaps the upgrade and refurbishment of the Deakin shopping centre is also in this year's budget because the Chief Minister gave an assurance to the Deakin Trader's Association that this upgrade would be included in the 2003-04 capital works program. If it is in this year's budget, I don't quite know how you justify the 2003-04 capital works program. But, again, I look forward to an explanation.
I would like now to turn to the extra taxes that we have been asked to look at. We have got a ratepayer bushfire tax, and we have got taxes on water, parking, poker machines, conveyancing, car registration and licences. There are seven extra taxes, five of which will affect most Canberrans. Three of them-parking, car registration and licences-would suggest to me a bias against private vehicles. Of course, we can understand this because the government is pushing, I believe unsuccessfully and they are doomed to fail, to get more people into public transport. They seem to forget that this is 2003 and not 1953; that society has changed and that people's transport needs and wants have changed