Page 3505 - Week 08 - Thursday, 18 August 2011

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book. This is a mammoth task, and whilst there will always be issues that arise from time to time, this type of snide, begrudging assertion that “yes, it should have been done, but you should have done it ages ago and I would have done it” really is most unconstructive and does not show a lot of respect for the very good and positive work that officials in my directorate do every day.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Sitting suspended from 12.28 to 2 pm.

Questions without notice

Economy—cost of living

MR SESELJA: My question is to the Chief Minister. You recently made comments about families struggling with the ever increasing cost of living under the ACT Labor and Federal Labor governments. When discussing the options that people had to tackle rising costs of living, you said: “They could … cancel the Foxtel for a while.” Chief Minister, as of 1 July, the average Canberra family was slugged with more than $300 a year in car parking costs, $86 in increased electricity costs, water costs are up by an average of $142, most Canberrans will pay $300 more in federal taxes, and this before the rates increases courtesy of your government. Chief Minister, will you apologise for reducing the concerns of struggling families to just whether or not they have a subscription to pay TV?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank the Leader of the Opposition for the question. I was beginning to think that maybe they had forgotten all about me this week—two sitting days without a question from the Leader of the Opposition. Anyway, having said that, I think I could have been misquoted by the Leader of the Opposition. I am not sure. My comments in relation to Foxtel from an interview I gave were that people on higher incomes had more choices available to them about cutting costs for their families in the event of rising costs. I said that, for example, you could choose to cancel Foxtel. The context of those comments was about higher income earners having greater choices than lower income earners, and that we needed to focus on the lower income earners in regard to any government assistance that might be required.

That is my memory of the interview I gave, which was a longer interview, and it may have been cut so that it gave the impression that I said that about families who may have been having significant cost pressures. The comments were made in relation to higher income earners.

I do also want to have, and would welcome, a mature discussion in this place around how we support families who are experiencing financial hardship. The campaign being run by the ACT Liberals and the federal Liberals on this is that everyone deserves government assistance, that nobody in the community is able to deal with the

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