Page 1601 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 31 March 2009

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But what we saw enunciated by the Treasurer was, I think, a restatement of what has been this government’s position in relation to revenue, and that is: once you have got revenue, you never, ever let it go; every tax is a good tax. The Chief Minister, I believe, has never seen a tax he did not like. I think the Treasurer is following in his footsteps.

We heard again put forward by the Treasurer earlier—it is always one or the other—that if you cut taxes by X, you must cut services by the same amount. That is essentially the argument we hear time and time again. We heard it from the Chief Minister when he clearly did not understand the concepts behind giving first homebuyers a tax cut, which involved, yes, the sacrificing of some revenue.

But there are two things in relation to the sacrificing of some revenue. There are things called savings, which I will come to in detail. Not every piece of government spending is good government spending. Not every piece of government spending results in services being delivered directly to the community. Not every piece of government spending is delivered in an efficient manner and cannot be done more efficiently and more effectively.

We know—and we have seen it in relation to the idea behind some of the cash handouts from the federal government—that there are also stimulus issues in relation to giving tax cuts. When you give tax cuts and you generate activity, you actually see revenue sometimes also coming in, which offsets the revenue that has been forgone. For instance, if you do give first homebuyers a tax cut and they choose to settle in the ACT instead of Queanbeyan as a result, we know that they will be spending money in the ACT. We know that they will pay GST here, which will come back to the ACT government to provide for services. We know that they will pay things like rego here and other rates and charges.

There are a number of ways of looking at this. It is not as simple as the Treasurer would have us believe: if you ever cut a tax, you have got to cut a service to match. It does not work like that. We see, I think, why they are so committed to keeping every tax. No doubt we will see increases in taxes in this coming budget. But they are committed to keeping these taxes because they are committed, it seems, to every dollar of spending.

We know this from their response to our announcement in relation to savings: the Labor Party in the ACT claimed of course, and always claims, that any savings always result in job losses, which is not true once again, but also that any savings result in service delivery cuts. You need to look at some of the money that Katy Gallagher is so committed to continuing to spend to see the extent to which we will never see any relief anywhere under this government. By the same token, by committing to spend this money, it is either tax cuts that cannot be given or it is money that cannot be spent on more important things. They are the fundamental choices that need to be made by government.

When they choose to criticise cutting just $100,000 in the first year and $200,000 in the second, third and fourth years out of the marketing and communications corporate

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