Page 5154 - Week 12 - Thursday, 27 October 2011

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Questions without notice

Economy—cost of living

MR SESELJA: My question is to the Chief Minister. Minister under your government, Canberrans have seen the cost of living sky rocket, with increases including taxation per capita growing by 76 per cent, rates up by over 75 per cent, rents up by over 68 per cent and car parking costs up by 57 per cent, amongst other things. Recently released data from the ABS has shown that the cost of living in Canberra continues to increase, with rents up 5.8 per cent and water and sewerage up 12 per cent just in the last 12 months. Minister what are you doing to put downward pressure on the cost of living for Canberra families?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his interest in cost of living pressures. This government has been conscious of cost of living pressures for years. That the Johnnies-come-lately over there have woken up after a three-year hibernation to realise there is an election coming and that they need to start talking about issues that people care about is very interesting.

Members interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Order members! Ms Gallagher, the question.

MS GALLAGHER: My challenge to you, Mr Seselja, is to go back and have a look at every budget this government has put together and look at the focus that has been placed on meeting the needs of Canberrans and ensuring that costs and cost increases remain minimal. Indeed, the last budget, Mr Seselja, that you voted against had the single biggest increase for concessions, specifically to target electricity and water costs, that any government has done since self-government. And your party, Mr Seselja, voted against it. So on an actual concrete thing that you could have done to relieve pressure on families, particularly those families in greatest need, you voted against it. That was your opportunity—not to wait until next October when you want to outline some of your plans, but there were actually things you could have done this year, things you could have done last year, and you voted against it.

We have a proud record in this area. This is the area that the Labor Party has focused on for years, and we will continue to focus on it for years to come, regardless of whether or not we are a government or whether there is a desperate opposition waiting to try and form a government.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Seselja, a supplementary.

MR SESELJA: Minister, what will your $50,000 unit tax do for the cost of living pressures on Canberra families?

MS GALLAGHER: Thank you, and I welcome again the opportunity to talk about the lease variation charge. It is interesting that the Liberal Party are very quick to jump into the pockets of the developers and lose focus on the issue that we need to pay for services to ensure that we can target government assistance. The lease

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