Page 952 - Week 03 - Thursday, 3 April 2008

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MR SPEAKER: Order! Come back to the subject matter of the question.

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I will conclude on this point. The secrets of the Liberal Party party room reveal that as a result of the public perception of this mob over here, they face losing three seats at the next election and we see a rump of four. As Mr Mulcahy says, it is quite possible that the Liberal Party will occupy the cross benches after the next election.

MR MULCAHY: I thank the Treasurer for that illuminating response. Isn’t it the case, however, that the taxation levels in the various Labor controlled states and territories have been increasing, and it is only relative to these tax increases by your Labor mates that you can claim that the level of taxation in the ACT is appropriate?

MR STANHOPE: I must say that I do not have those numbers around relative increases or decreases or rates of increase to hand or in my head.

Mrs Burke: I thought you were good at figures, John?

Mrs Dunne: Don’t you have a brief?

MR STANHOPE: I could go to the brief and perhaps find it. But what I can advise Mr Mulcahy from my recollection or my recall of the Commonwealth Grants Commission reports in relation to issues around relative taxation effort is that, whilst the ACT’s taxation effort over the period that we are discussing has reduced by 0.7 per cent, interestingly, the New South Wales taxation or revenue effort in that same period has increased by the same 0.7 per cent. So, in relation to a contrast between the ACT and New South Wales, I can go to one state’s record in relation to taxation effort over the same period, and that is that we have reduced our taxation effort over that period by 0.7 per cent and in the same period the New South Wales taxation or revenue effort has increased by 0.7 per cent.

So it is not true to say that the difference that has been achieved by the ACT is just that we are perhaps all increasing at the same rate. We have reduced our effort as a percentage or by comparison. On the average, we have reduced our take, and New South Wales has increased its take. So your basic assertion can be disputed or disproved just by that ACT to New South Wales comparison.


MR STEFANIAK: My question is to the minister for education. In December 2006 you announced that Southern Cross primary school would close in its present form at the end of the 2008 school year and become a P-2 early childhood school in 2009. Will you rule out closing Southern Cross primary for renovations and relocating students before the end of this year?

MR BARR: I thank Mr Stefaniak for the question. For the record, under the Education Act, a change in year levels of a school is not a school closure. Mr Stefaniak has again failed to do some very basic research and understand the Education Act. In fact, if you had done that research Mr Stefaniak, you would be

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