Page 1075 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 16 March 2005

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now have interest rate inflationary pressures and we now have, as a result of inflationary pressures, an interest rate increase.

You might want to defend your mates up on the hill at the expense of ACT citizens. I don’t know which side you are on. I would hope that you would be on the side of the ACT citizens. If nothing else, you cannot deny the consequences of a federal government spending $6 billion and shoving that into the economy in order to win an election. They are going to create inflationary pressure.

Then they have got a Reserve Bank, which they have set terms of reference for, that says, “Keep inflation under control.” Costello stands up and claims, “I gave them their riding instructions. I, Pete, myself, big-time Pete, gave them their riding instructions.” Of course, under those riding instructions, under those terms of reference, they have increased interest rates, with every indication that there is likely to be a further 25 basis points increase in interest rates through the course of this year. That is the genuinely held fear.

That is going to impact on home mortgages; that is going to impact on spending capacity; that is going to impact on GST revenue. So the Chief Minister has every right to be concerned that, first of all, GST revenue may certainly slow in their growth if they don’t contract. Beyond that, because Mr Costello and his mates are running around saying, “Rivers of gold. Rivers of gold. The states have got it all good,” on just about every portfolio front there is a push by the feds to reduce funds to the states. You will hear them saying, “The states have got all this money, and they should pick up here. The states have got all this GST money, they should pick up here.”

The net difference to the ACT, after we get our increase over the estimated GST, then start losing our productivity payments, get screwed and treated absolutely differently to any other state or territory in relation to corporate regulation fees and get ripped off another $5 million per year—after you take that into account, there ain’t no rivers of gold flowing around London Circuit, I have got to tell you.

I think the serious point that needs to be made in public discussion is whether or not this Liberal opposition in the ACT are going to be apologists for the federal government or whether they are going to defend the interests of the people of the ACT. So far, all the indications are that, particularly from Mr Mulcahy as he parrots the policies of the federal government, yes, you are going to come down on the side of the federal government at the expense of the citizens that you are supposed to directly represent. I counsel you to do otherwise. If you do not, we will do our level best to make sure the people of Canberra know where your interests lie.


MS MacDONALD: My question is to the Minister for Tourism, Mr Quinlan. Minister, today you announced a new and exciting addition to Canberra’s tourism events calendar.

Mr Pratt: The bikies.

MS MacDONALD: Minister, could you please inform the Assembly about this event and the new events unit announced for Australian Capital Tourism?

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