Page 1202 - Week 04 - Thursday, 17 March 2005

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government’s 2004-05 budget cut the ACT special revenue assistance funding of approximately $13.9 million per annum from the 2005-06 budget.

While the funding components of $6.3 million for police and $3.1 million for roads have now been included with the GST pool from 2005 to 2006, the corporate affairs regulation component of $4.3 million per annum has not. The ACT will bear this cost of approximately $18 million over the budget in forward years. The outcome is particularly unsatisfactory, given that the ACT has not been treated equitably with the other states. All states and the Northern Territory continue to receive corporate affairs regulation funding through a specific purpose payment.

The ACT also faces the loss of national competition policy payments estimated at $13 million in 2006-07, which the Australian government will now use to fund the national water initiative—approximately $14 million over budget in forward years. On a number of fronts the Australian government is demanding greater funding contribution from the ACT regarding specific purpose payments. While the federal government recognises the high growth of costs of service delivery—for example, the recent hike in private medical insurance—it is looking to the state and territory governments to meet the full cost of this high growth.

The mortgage belt in the ACT—those workers struggling to bring up their families and pay the bills—has just been hit with a 0.25 per cent increase. That is from the federal government that said, “Vote for us and we’ll provide lower interest rates.” Under their watch, five months on, interest rates are up. And now they are cutting our funding. I urge the opposition to do the right thing for the people of the ACT and put pressure on their federal Liberal colleagues—we know some of you are close to that, Mr Mulcahy—to treat the territory fairly and maintain appropriate levels of funding to the ACT.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: I call Mr Seselja.

Dr Foskey: Excuse me.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER. Dr Foskey, do you have a point of order?

Dr Foskey: Yes, I do have a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. I stood up before Mr Seselja. I stood up twice. The time for the debate is ending. The Greens’ perspective has not yet been put. I do think it is rather different and needs to be heard.

Mr Mulcahy: Mr Deputy Speaker, I do not think there is a point of order. It is a matter of your calling whoever you notice is first to their feet.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Mr Seselja was on his feet earlier. Dr Foskey, you do not have a point of order.

MR SESELJA (Molonglo) (4.51): Firstly, I would like to commend Mr Mulcahy for bringing forward this matter of obvious public importance today. We have heard some compelling points from this side of the chamber on this issue and we have heard compelling points about some of the real concerns that the opposition has about the economic outlook for the territory. We have heard some interesting points from the other side, which I will get to later.

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