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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 6 Hansard (19 June) . . Page.. 2115 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

on the capacity of people to pay. That was the intention of Mr Quinlan's bill-to take into account difficulties being experienced by people as their suburbs become more highly rated. That is a good intention.

In evidence given to the committee, there were a number of suggestions given as to how this could be dealt with, including looking at improved values as a way of dealing with rating. The matter of the lack of concern for the environment in this proposal was raised. I would want to see any further work include that aspect of rates.

Concerns were also raised about the impact on supply of rental accommodation as a result of this bill. That matter would have to be taken into account in any work done on developing another rates system. I recall ACTCOSS stating, as a comment on the process, that the government had stated it had considered a number of rating models but only one was proposed for community comment. I think it is important that, when further work is done on this, there are different options put to the community for consultation.


(Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism and Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming) (11.32): Members will be aware that I intended to move a number of amendments to this bill. However, it seems to me that the numbers are not there; so there is no point in wasting the Assembly's time, as we did yesterday with insurance bills.

Mr Speaker, the proposed system embodied in this bill was a commitment of the Labor government at the 2001 election. I think most people within this place were aware of it. Most importantly, a year ago, I introduced into this place a bill to cap rates across the board at CPI, as a precursor to the introduction of this system. That bill was passed by this Assembly.

It follows that, if there are objections and there were to be a Public Accounts Committee inquiry into the system, it should have taken place a year ago. If anybody in this place has been derelict in their duty, it is the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee-Mr Smyth. Good, bad, or indifferent in relation to the system, the hearings that took place very recently, at the 11th hour, should have taken place a year ago.

Mr Smyth talks about the exhaustive research and analysis done in his office, which I say is cobblers. The analysis done by those in pursuit of destroying the system was to paint the worst case scenario.

Nobody in this place recognised that, each year, rating bills come into this place for approval. Therefore, whether the worst case scenario is applied to premises which change ownership is in the hands of the Assembly. Nevertheless, the rating factor would still apply.

This is not a complex matter. Mr Smyth talks about analysis. This is not a matter which lends itself to reams of paper-it is simply a concept. I made the mistake of overestimating the mental capacity of the Leader of the Opposition-because this is a very simple concept.

Mr Smyth

: You always resort to personal taunts when you are caught out. Go the man-do not go the issue. Defend your issues! No, you cannot.

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