Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 2358 ..
Again, we are putting an impost on those people who can least afford it, those people who are waiting an extra pay to get the money for their registration and the extra $25 because they are paying it short term, or people who go away for the winter and do not need their car and hence leave it in their garage. They have not needed to pay registration for it, but they will also be asked to pay more now through a continuous registration scheme.
I am happy with the government's response to the Estimates Committee report that it will carefully consider implementation arrangements over the next two months to ensure that the policy intent can be achieved in an equitable and consistent manner. I am greatly looking forward to seeing how the government thinks that it will be able to do that.
I believe that the deal for the taxi and restricted hire vehicle owners presented as part of the 2003-04 budget is unsatisfactory. The members of this industry have made a fair case that they should be given the option of having their plates bought by the government at market rates if the government insists on pressing ahead with the deregulation of their industry. They are rightfully doubtful that the compensation they will receive from revenue raised through new plate sales will be sufficient to offset ongoing losses of earnings in a market where more players will be competing for limited business. It appears that the government has ignored the protests of these battlers.
On the issue of waste management: I remain concerned that so much money is going into the construction of a new landfill trench, because it is money that could be used to improve the sorting and treatment of the waste stream currently going to landfill, including biowaste. The no waste by 2010 target is now very close and we are not reducing our waste fast enough to meet that target. Digging trenches and filling them with liners so that they can hold more waste is one way of managing the waste problem, but if we are serious about the "No Waste by 2010"strategy we will need to be a little bit more innovative than that.
Like the nurse practitioners initiative, it is not clear why the wood heater buyback is being delayed until next year as it is already clear that the government is almost certain to return a larger surplus in the coming financial year than predicted. There are many ACT residents, particularly in Tuggeranong, who are suffering respiratory problems caused by wood smoke. It is not fair to make these people wait another year for action if the government has already identified this area as one in which something needs to be done.
On a positive note: I am delighted that funds have finally been allocated to the construction of a Kippax library. It has taken decades of campaigning by local people and it seems that their battle is now almost over. I hope that the site selection and building planning process will run smoothly and the government will be, as they were in putting up money to build this library, willing to listen to the community about their concerns with regard to the site of the library and the development of the library. Also, I hope that this capital funding will not get sucked into rollovers, like so many other infrastructure projects, unfortunately.