Page 1419 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 9 May 2006

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It is through careless spending that the government has also squandered the opportunity to improve people’s lives by reducing the burden of taxation. The ACT is now condemned to remain with New South Wales as the highest taxing jurisdiction in Australia. I can see the government’s predicament and I certainly understand why they are worried. They can now see what the opposition has been warning for over a year: Canberra taxpayers will soon feel the further pain of the ACT government’s management, or mismanagement, as they experience higher local taxes and charges to pay for Labor spending but at the same time see no improvement in waiting times at the hospital, deterioration in the quality of police services, particularly as evident in shopping centres and the like, and the general look of the city.

It is in sharp contrast to the budget that is coming down tonight, with what is estimated to be a surplus of $17.5 billion and the prospects of tax cuts, which will be especially beneficial to the people of Canberra and at a level that we are assured will not seek to accelerate increases in the rate of inflation or interest rates. We see that in a town that is buoyant. The Chief Minister and Acting Treasurer was right to say the town has been buoyant. The commonwealth government is the biggest employer in the town and has had a lot to do with that, but the private sector has also.

But the odd man out in this whole equation is the ACT budget. It fails to reflect the economic situation of the town; it fails to reflect the taxation windfalls this government has achieved, way above and beyond their expectations, in terms of the $700-odd million, as Mr Smyth reminds me, of goods and services taxes that have come back to the territory and have continually saved this government that cannot live within its means. It is quite stark to look at the two budgets and the two styles of government that we are seeing in this city at the moment. It is regrettable that the territory cannot emulate their federal counterparts.


Beaconsfield mine disaster

Dr Peter Veenker

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (6.13): On the weekend I attended ACT Young Labor’s annual Shave for a Cure fundraiser. This is one of Australia’s largest fundraising events, with more than 100,000 people Australia wide pledging to shave or colour their hair each year. All money raised goes to the Leukaemia Foundation, which uses the funds to support people living with leukaemia and their families. The money also goes towards research in order to find treatments and cures for this terrible disease.

Last year, ACT Young Labor’s Close Shave was a great success and this year was no different. I was joined on Saturday by fellow Assembly members John Hargreaves and Andrew Barr as well as our federal colleagues Annette Ellis MP, Bob McMullan MP and Senator Kate Lundy. Peter Barclay, the owner of King O’Malley’s Irish Pub, kindly provided us with a venue as well as encouraging his customers and staff to donate to this wonderful cause.

Four members of ACT Young Labor had their head shaved, and I thoroughly enjoyed shaving the luscious locks of ANU student Josh Gordon-Carr. Josh has been working hard in the past few weeks to raise money for the Leukaemia Foundation. However, he

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