Page 558 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 5 March 2008

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We can look at the closing of 23 schools when we were told there would be no schools closed. We can look at the significant increases in taxes and charges under this government due to their financial mismanagement in the context of a billion-dollar boom. We have seen them deliberately taking car parks away as part of a strategy of forcing people onto buses whilst at the same time slashing their bus services. This is a government that has consistently punished young families. If there is one legacy of the last few years of the Stanhope government, it is that it has hurt young families. And the way it has hurt young families the most is through its deliberate squeeze on land supply which has led to thousands of young Canberra families being forced out of the housing market.

It is absolutely outrageous for the Chief Minister to come in here and try to blame the hardship suffered by young Canberra families on anyone else but himself, his government and their actions. It demonstrates the lengths to which this Chief Minister will go to avoid answering the question about why he is afraid to stand up to his federal colleagues and why he has failed to secure prosperity for young Canberrans.

We now have a double act between ACT Labor and federal Labor. ACT Labor has closed schools, raised taxes, failed to invest in infrastructure and has forced people out of the housing market. On the back of that, we have a federal government that is now going to come and take away people’s jobs. That is what is going on here—a double act involving ACT Labor, which has shown no compassion and no regard for the impact of its policies on young families in the territory. Young families can no longer afford to buy homes and are being forced to move over the border in order to buy their homes. We have seen their services taken away and their schools closed. We have seen their water prices go up as the government has failed to invest in infrastructure. We have seen waiting times at our hospitals get longer and longer. This has occurred in the context of a billion-dollar boom and, at the end of that, we have a federal government that is going to come and take away their jobs. Jon Stanhope says it is not his fault; it is someone else’s fault.

What an embarrassing statement that was from the Chief Minister. He comes in here and picks a fight about housing affordability and the impact of government policy on young families when his government continues to subject young Canberra families to hardship that would be completely avoidable if this government could actually manage the territory in the way that it should.

If there is one issue on which I welcome a debate in the lead-up to the election, it will be on how this ACT Labor government has attacked young families with its policies. It has caused undue hardship for young families looking to purchase a home. This housing stress has been caused by people having to take on significantly higher mortgages than would otherwise be the case because of this government’s deliberate policy of squeezing land supply. There can be no doubt about it: this government controls the land release and it squeezed it. The families of Canberra are still feeling the effects. For the Chief Minister to try and blame anyone but himself, his government’s policies and his ministers is absolutely outrageous.

The people of Canberra can see through this. The people of Canberra can do the sums. They know that this government have controlled land release, that they control

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