Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 August 2008) . . Page.. 2912 ..
promise in this place that the fire and emergency services levy would be abolished. I am not quite sure about the colourful statement or description he gave, but Mr Pratt’s undertaking in this place was that you would see him drop dead before the Liberal Party would support the fire and emergency services levy, and that the first thing—
Mr Mulcahy: 17 October last year.
MR STANHOPE: It was on 17 October last year—Mr Mulcahy is across it—that Steve Pratt—
Mr Seselja: Give us your dissertation on it.
MR STANHOPE: Mr Mulcahy actually agrees with Mr Pratt in relation to this; it is just that Mr Mulcahy has the integrity to carry through with the position that the Liberal Party used to have. The Liberal Party opposed this for shallow, hollow political purposes at the time it was introduced. But now of course, as it faces the dim prospect of perhaps falling into government, this is a tax that the Liberal Party now adheres to like glue. The Liberal Party now supports the Labor Party’s revenue measures. The Liberal Party is now endorsing a significant plank of the functional review. That is what we have got today. The Liberal Party is now endorsing one of the most significant outcomes of the functional review. (Time expired.)
MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (11.13), in reply: Mr Speaker, I am glad to be speaking again about the importance of tax relief, since it is a subject that I believe is very important to the ACT economy and to the people of the ACT. Notwithstanding the publication of representational issues yesterday that showed that the shadow Treasurer had taken up four Treasury issues in the entire time he has been here, most people in Canberra are actually concerned about this issue, and that is reflected in the volume of communications I have directed to the Treasurer and Chief Minister on this issue. This is one that stands out as a matter of concern.
ACT residents are suffering under the weight of an oversized and high spending government that looks to the wallets of its citizens whenever a problem arises. We have heard a lot of talk lately about the cost of living, including the high cost of fuel and grocery prices. We have seen the two wonderful initiatives of the federal government—the fuel watch and now the grocery watch—so you actually now watch while you try and cope with the soaring costs that are providing a massive burden on the family budget. Nothing will change of course; you will still pay through the nose, but that seems to be the go on the hill.
We have heard a lot of talk on these issues. They are serious issues, and they are important to the day-to-day lives of ACT residents. Whilst the ACT government does not have control over those particular matters, there is one area of living expenses over which they have a great deal of control—that is, the rates of taxation and charges imposed on residents. While questions of economics and taxation are sometimes seen as rather dry issues, they do have a very real and very significant impact on people’s lives.
For example, I recently had a constituent complain to me—one of many, and we refer them along—about the high cost of taxation and the difficulty she was having raising