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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 8 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 3050 ..

MR CORNWELL (4.16): My colleague Mr Smyth has given a convincing account, I believe, of the central role of our friend over there, Ted the tax man, in increasing cost pressures.

MR SPEAKER: Refer to the member by his proper name or title, Mr Cornwell.

MR CORNWELL: I will, Mr Speaker, if he will agree not to call my colleague stupid. I would like, however, to address the role of the Treasurer's apprentice, Mr Wood-I use that word advisedly-as Minister for Urban Services, because it is as Minister for Urban Services that he has raised fees, fines and charges paid by ACT residents; in particular, taxes and revenue measures that have reduced housing affordability in the ACT, never mind Mr Quinlan's take on that. I will explain that shortly.

Recently, we had the spectacle of ordinary workers protesting outside the Labor conference at the introduction of paid parking, for example, in Tuggeranong and Belconnen. Indeed, Mr Athol Williams, who was, I believe, a candidate for the Labor Party in Brindabella, along with Mr Wood, in the 2001 election, and who is also, I believe, the Treasurer's factional colleague-correct me if I am wrong-organised this protest because he was shocked that this Labor government would introduce a charge such as paid parking on lowly paid workers.

Of course, it is not just lowly paid workers in Tuggeranong and Belconnen who will suffer as this government is also taking it out on students at Lake Tuggeranong College, who are also protesting and believe that they are being discriminated against. For a government that is so harsh upon discrimination, it is amazing how selective they can be when they want money. Further, delegates at the Labor Party conference, as I read, walked out during Mr Wood's speech because they were so disillusioned with his performance, as well they might be, indeed, with this Labor Government, along with other people in Canberra.

Mr Wood, your complicity in raising taxes and charges on ordinary Canberrans certainly is cause for concern. Unfortunately, members of this government do not care, because they believe that, so far as their own voters and, indeed, their own rank and file members are concerned, they can treat them as they will because they will not change their votes.

We will see what happens because, to add to the impost of parking levies, this government has also introduced a parking space levy. Civic businesses, hotels, motels and clubs will all be hit by this charge. The government is also planning to tax charities, as we are aware, with the Charitable Collections Act. I do not believe that there are any perceived benefits for the needy from this government interference in charities. Nevertheless, it will impose additional red tape and that will cost money.

In 2001, along with my colleagues, I voted to reduce motor registration costs paid by ordinary Canberrans by $10 million. Mr Quinlan always seemed unhappy about this proposal. This proved to be the case because, in his 2002-03 budget, he reimposed the tax on motor vehicles. Labor has hammered motorists to such an extent that the ACT now has the highest motor vehicle registration and third-party insurance costs in Australia.

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