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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 9 April 2008) . . Page.. 1230 ..

Mr Hargreaves: Fixed.

MR SESELJA: Mr Hargreaves interjects that some of it has been fixed. Some of it has improved but we know that the changes to the bus service and the decline in the bus service under this government have hurt the elderly, probably more than any group in the community. We know that young people and other groups are affected by it, but our elderly Canberrans have been affected by this government’s mismanagement of our public transport system.

In a number of areas, whether it be tax, housing, rent, public transport or the provision of aged care, our elderly are being let down by the government. I am very glad that Mr Gentleman has brought this matter of public importance to the attention of the Assembly. It is an important issue. It is not an issue that is going to go away; in fact, it is an issue that will continue to increase. We need to find better ways of looking after our elderly residents because I think it is clear—(Time expired.)

MR SPEAKER: The time for this discussion has expired.

Utilities (Network Facilities Tax) Repeal Bill 2008

Debate resumed from 5 March 2008, on motion by Mr Mulcahy:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (4.45): Mr Speaker, I note that the notice paper says Mr Corbell was going to resume this debate, and his absence is noted. The Liberal Party welcomes this bill; it represents Liberal Party policy. It was agreed to by the party room in 2007. We attempted to remove the tax once and are pleased to see that we can have another go again. It is good to see this bill from the political oncer—the one-time member for Molonglo, Mr Mulcahy. He has plagiarised Liberal Party policy for his own end and has not got the capabilities to develop his own policies. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and so the objective to repeal the utilities network tax is a worthy cause; it is something that we have supported in the past and we will support in the future.

This bill highlights serious issues with the Stanhope government’s tax strategy or, should I say, lack of strategy. The Stanhope government was elected on the promise of being a low-taxing government. Indeed, Mr Stanhope as opposition leader promised before the 2001 ACT election:

We need a government that will be focusing on delivering … low tax rates.

Sounds good, does it not? But what was the reality? The most succinct summary of the position was established by the former Treasurer, Mr Quinlan, in his famous remarks to the Canberra business community when he said that the government would squeeze investors till they bleed but not until they die. The reality of the Stanhope government is that it has a taxation strategy, if that is what it can be called, of being a high-taxing government. If it moves, tax it; if it is land, tax it; if it is built, tax it; if you can drive it, tax it; and if it is a hole for a utilities service, tax it.

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