Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 2323 ..
Mr Wood: I am disappointed in you, Mr Cornwell.
MR SPEAKER: Order, members! Mr Cornwell has the floor.
MR CORNWELL: Thank you for your protection against these people opposite, Mr Speaker. Recommendation 21 of the estimates report reads:
The Committee recommends the Government investigate ways of incorporating low-income self-funded retirees in the rate concessions granted to pensioners.
I was much heartened by the government response: "Noted."It did not reject it out of hand. The response continues:
The Government is currently reviewing all concessions and rebates available to low income groups. To the extent that the self funded retirees fall within low income groups which are provided Commonwealth Health Care cards, they are already entitled to a range of concessions and rebates-
which we know-
More work will need to be done to ascertain whether it would be feasible to extend the rates concessions to holders of Commonwealth Health Care cards to ensure equity and consistency in the application of concessions. The government needs also to consider the potential costs and the wider implications of an extension of rates concessions and rebates for other low income groups.
I will watch this matter with great interest. I hope that something can be done, in the name of justice, for a number of these people.
Some members received an email the other day from a gentleman living in Ainslie, who is a retiree. He pointed out the problems of rate increases for retirees. He pointed out that his rates would go up $651 next year, an increase of 48 per cent on last year's rates. He claimed, however-and I think there is some sense in what he said-that the whole concept of rates being based on ULVs is stupid.
It has nothing to do with the services used or the ability to pay. There should be a fixed charge on every household for basic services. Added to that should be a pro rata charge based on the size of the house, so that someone who can afford to live in a 28 square metre house, compared with my 14 square metre house, accordingly, pays twice as much.
Members may not agree with this. It is, however, another suggestion that could be looked at. I trust that the Treasurer will be doing this when he re-examines the entire rating question, so that the government is not obliged to adopt what they had been talking about for so long as the "discredited Liberal rating system". We look forward to a new proposal for rates in this territory. The matter certainly needs to be looked at in some detail.
The other matter I would briefly comment upon is the continuous registration of motor vehicles which, again, is a revenue initiative. Whether this brings in the revenue that the government seeks and, more particularly, whether the government