Page 229 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 15 February 2012

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Ms Porter’s other point was around the announcement from the Labor Party about the fund to deliver a $22 million benefit for all Canberrans. Really? There is a $22 million benefit? There are a couple of points on this so-called fund. First, after more than a decade in government, the message from Labor when they made their announcement was: “If you want municipal services you will have to vote for us again. We have not delivered for the last 10 years.”

Mr Smyth: Which you have already paid your rates for.

MR SESELJA: You have paid your rates, which have gone up 75, 80 per cent in the time that Labor has been in. Let us just reflect on that. The Labor Party have increased rates since they came to office by an average over 75 per cent. In many parts of Tuggeranong people are now paying over 100 per cent more than they were paying in 2001. So Canberra families who are paying double the rates that they were when Labor came to office are now being told, “The only way we can deliver on municipal services is if we whack a $50,000 per unit tax, if we slug first home buyers and if we slug renters.”

What does that say about this government’s priorities—that, only after 10 years, they have discovered that maybe they should consider things like mowing the lawns, looking after our neighbourhoods and looking after local services. No-one believes you. No-one believes you, and nor should they, because you are not going to deliver an extra $22 million if you are re-elected. Of course you are not. In fact where is this money coming from—because all of the money that you are due to receive from the lease variation charge is allocated? You have got the money for the next year’s budget. Where are you taking that money from? Is it going to be a $22 million larger deficit—or are you taking it from other aspects?

This money was already accounted for. It was accounted for in the budget. You are now claiming, “We’ve magically got an extra $22 million.” You have already budgeted to receive this money. This is not new money. So there is a question for the government to answer as to exactly what this means. But punters are sceptical. Punters are certainly sceptical, and we saw some of the responses when this was announced. I will give a little bit of the flavour: “OMG the hide of them. These are the sorts of services most towns and cities in Australia receive from their local councils as part of the day-to-day local government administration, but not in Canberra. We wait for an election year and suddenly there is money to mow grass and fix footpaths.”

Mr Barr: Signed T Faulkner, 221 London Circuit.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Barr.

MR SESELJA: Again we see the arrogance of Andrew Barr: anyone who would dare criticise the Labor Party must be a member of the Liberal Party. He thinks one must be a member of the Liberal Party to be criticising the fact that a government that for 10 years ignored these things are now saying, “Gee, it’s an election year and the Liberals have been talking about this, so we’re going to magically find $22 million—money we have already allocated.” They will have to explain where this money is going to be moved from.

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