Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 15 February 2011) . . Page.. 85 ..
Those of you with friends, and I have many, who have their children in childcare, as my own son was until recently, will know that they are struggling. There are a lot of people struggling to meet exorbitant costs, particularly if you have got two or three children.
And what if you talk to senior citizens? I have done that as much as I can in places like Weston and Dickson, where Mr Barr lives. You will hear about the steep price rises in electricity.
Mr Barr: Famous, please.
MR HANSON: The famous Mr Barr in Dickson. It is not just young singles in Dickson; there are a lot of retirees and pensioners there as well. They have real difficulties in coping with the rising cost of living pressures—things like electricity, which means that when it comes to winter or the summer heat, their ability to run heating or air conditioning in their homes is limited. That is a terrible thing. The average household energy bill has increased by more than $500 in the last six years.
If you go out to places like the Mawson shops, Cooleman Court or the Dickson shops, you will find people who will tell you about the rise in rental costs—how high housing prices are preventing them from setting up their own homes. They are stuck in that rental cycle. And the cost of rates, for those who can actually afford their own home, has increased on average by 75 per cent across the board in the ACT in the last nine years since the Labor government came into power.
My colleague Mr Seselja will be talking on this MPI and will be highlighting the difficulties that ACT residents are finding when it comes to housing affordability, be it affording their own home or renting. Katy Gallagher will tell you that everything is hunky-dory in the ACT, that everything is okay. She will tell you that we are trying to skew statistics, no doubt, and that no-one is facing any pressures—that we have low unemployment, that everyone can get a job, that we have the highest average income. Some of these are the arguments that they use.
Ms Gallagher interjecting—
MR HANSON: The point is that for many people—
MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Order, members! Treasurer, would you mind not baiting Mr Hanson, please.
MR HANSON: Many people in the ACT simply cannot afford holidays in Spain—cycling through Spain—or the sort of holidays Ms Gallagher takes, tasting wine through the south of France. There are a lot of people that are on quite low incomes—they might be classified as on mid or low incomes; they are not in the poverty bracket—who really struggle to manage the necessities of life and do not even dream of the sort of holidays that others can afford.