Page 2079 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 21 June 2005

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indicated that the children have thoroughly enjoyed their participation in the process. They have indicated their desire to be involved in similar projects in the future.

The government has already used similar consultation techniques to develop the children’s plan and in developing the new statutory Office of the Commissioner for Children. In developing the children’s plan, particular input was sought from children and their families. I sent a letter to 19,000 primary school children in the ACT inviting them to provide input into the process. I thank the schools for their assistance in encouraging their students to respond. We received 2,200 responses to that request.

Some 2,500 individuals and organisations were consulted about a children’s commissioner and how that could assist in making Canberra a better place for children and young people. The views of 360 children and 145 young people on things that could be done to improve their lives were included in the emerging themes and public submissions reports that arose out of those consultations.

A cross-section of children was among those who responded to this consultation. Fifty two per cent were aged eight to 12 and some 7.5 per cent were five years of age or younger. The views of children were accessed through primary schools, early childhood education and care settings, women’s refuges, and hospitals. Views were also sought from children residing in foster care and from children with disabilities. A special survey sheet was developed to record these responses, which included an opportunity for children to provide artwork expressing their views.

The Office of the Commissioner for Children will continue to develop these consultation techniques. The final outcomes of the innovate Gungahlin project will inform these developments.

Budget—rates and charges

MR MULCAHY: My question is to the Treasurer. I refer to measures within the budget wherein you have announced increases in general rates. Disclosed within the budget papers is advice that the additional increase in rates will be imposed for all properties on a 50/50 basis of fixed charge and valuation charge. In producing your forward estimates can you advise the projected growth in average unimproved value upon which you have relied to determine likely movement in values over each of the next three years?

MR QUINLAN: Would you like it off the top of my head?

Mr Mulcahy: I thought you would know that.

MR QUINLAN: I think it is important to recognise that the unimproved value is used to differentiate between properties in the application of rates, but it is not used solely to determine the level of rates. Forget this increase for the time being. In the past we have said, “Rates will increase by CPI plus physical growth”-the growth in numbers in premises. That overall level of gross rates to be collected is then apportioned over all the individual properties according to their unimproved value. That system still obtains today. If you want, I will look up Hansard and work out exactly what you are asking and we can give you the estimates. But it is not as material maybe as your question implied.

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