Page 505 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 5 March 2008

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Liberal Party in this place refuse to acknowledge what is at the heart of the moves that the federal government is making.

We do not like the fact that our institutions here in the ACT are being affected and we do not like the prospect of fellow Canberrans facing job cuts. But do we ignore the implications of rampaging inflation? Do we ignore the implications for our economy of a slowdown in the economy as a result of those interest rate rises? Do we ignore the implications for small business or residents of the ACT being forced to apply all their previous discretionary income to their mortgage payments with the impact that that will have on discretionary expenditure within the territory. Of course we do not ignore that. Of course we lament a cut to funding to Canberra institutions, particularly the cultural institutions. Of course we are faced with despair at the prospect of fellow Canberrans losing their jobs. But let us not lose sight of the fact that we are responding to an annual increase in an average mortgage in the ACT of $4,404 as a result of interest rate rises over the last two years.

Mr Seselja responds blithely. He does not care about the fact that the Reserve Bank has already signalled that there will be a further interest rate rise. He does not discuss interest rate rises and the impact of inflation on the economy. Does he understand what the implications of rampaging inflation are for the ACT economy and for business in the ACT? It is dire. We need to address it. We need to stop it. We need to take the steps that need to be taken to control or cap the prospect of this ever increasing inflation and ever increasing interest rate rises.

There have been 20 interest rate rises in recent times and eight in the last two years. An average mortgage in the ACT has risen by $4,404 a year. Mr Seselja ignores that. He does not care about the implications or the impact of an additional $4,000 a year coming out of the disposable income of an average household to meet their mortgage payments. He does not care. He did not mention it once. He did not in his speech mention once the fact that the implication of not addressing inflation is that an average Canberra family must pay an additional $4,000 a year. They do not mention it because they do not care. They do not care about young Canberrans. They do not understand young Canberrans. They simply do not care or understand the issue that we are seeking to address here as a nation—the implications and the impact of inflation on young families. It is dire. It is serious. It is having an enormous effect.

I seek to bring this argument back to its real focus, namely, Liberal Party mismanagement and the lack of concern by the Liberal Party about the impact on Canberra families of inflation. That is something that the Liberal Party has no desire to address. They are happy to flap around about cuts to cultural institutions because it allows them to ignore the implications of a $4,000 a year increase in average mortgage payments by Canberra families. They do not want to discuss it because they are responsible for it. I move:

Omit all words after “That this Assembly”, substitute:

(1) notes the actions already taken and the announced intentions of the Commonwealth Government to address as a top priority the threats presented to the national and regional economies, including the ACT, and to Canberra residents, particularly the young and working families, by rapidly increasing inflation, a bitter legacy of Liberal Party financial mismanagement; and

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