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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 5 March 2008) . . Page.. 477 ..

with older people know that most people towards the end of their years do not want to have a situation where they leave debt. By the same token, many older people who are physically able do not want to leave their homes and move into supported care. They would rather stay in the environment and the neighbourhood where they have raised their families and lived throughout their lives. So the option of packing up and moving is not one that many older people find appealing. The possibility of accumulating debt because they cannot fund their rate increases is also abhorrent to many of our older people.

The tax increases on property, whilst recognising growth in the market, do not take into account in any real way the position of those many senior people who find themselves quite distressed as they see those charges come in and wonder how they are going to fund them out of an income stream that is adjusted only on the basis of the consumer price index.

I am happy to see that the opposition are still making comments in the media that are supportive of reductions in taxation. The Canberra Times reported the shadow Treasurer’s view that the government is reaping the rewards from higher taxes and that the community deserves some relief. I agree with this assessment and I think that it supports the bill that is before us. I hope that the opposition will follow up on these remarks and vote in favour of the present bill, as it was a bill they were happy to support only a matter of months ago. It is a sentiment that is consistent with the expressions they have made. It is a bill that seeks to remove what is deemed to be an inefficient tax. It is a bill that will, in fact, extend relief across the entire ACT community.

This is a perfect opportunity for the territory government to show through actions rather than simple words that they recognise that the surplus they are now enjoying should be shared amongst all of our community. It is not a radical change in terms of the taxes forgone. The forward projections, even on the conservative forecasting provided by the Treasury, make it very clear that this is manageable, achievable, responsible and equitable. I commend this bill to the House and I hope in particular that the major parties who have hinted at support for tax reform will now put their money where their mouth is and support this proposal.

Debate (on motion by Mr Corbell) adjourned to the next sitting.


MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (10.46): I move the motion standing in my name on the notice paper relating to the timetable for the overhaul of Canberra’s hospitals:

That this Assembly:

(1) notes with concern the recent State of Government Services report by the Productivity Commission that shows that waiting times for both elective surgery and treatment in the emergency department of Canberra’s hospitals remain the worst in the country;

(2) welcomes the recent announcement by the ACT Government that it is considering a major overhaul of Canberra’s hospitals; and

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