Page 2843 - Week 07 - Thursday, 7 June 2012

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Appropriation Bill 2012-2013

Debate resumed from 5 June 2012, on motion by Ms Gallagher:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (2.30): This budget, after 11 years of ACT Labor in power, represents a triple whammy for the people of Canberra.

The first is a massive tax hit. This budget delivers the highest taxes in the history of the territory and the highest in the country.

The second is a massive fall in core services. This budget is the culmination of 11 years of mismanagement that has delivered a massive fall in outcomes and deliveries. The most crucial core service that local government provides, that of health care, has tumbled from the best performing in the country to the worst in the country, and Labor is failing even our most vulnerable children.

The third is a massive deficit—over $600 million cumulative on the budget estimates—that one day every family in this territory will have to pay back.

Higher taxes, lower services, massive deficits.

The first whammy is the massive impost of fees, taxes and charges imposed by ACT Labor that delivers devastating increases to the cost of living. Let us be clear: this is the highest taxing government in territory history and the highest taxing per capita in the country.

Since ACT Labor has been in government, ACT taxes have increased by 90 per cent per person. That is $1,628 per person. Last year alone they rose eight per cent to $3,437—the highest growth in the country, to the highest level in the country. Water charges have tripled since ACT Labor came to power. After the 17 per cent increase is included in July, electricity prices will have doubled since Labor came to power. General rates have increased over 90 per cent, and in many cases over 100 per cent, since Labor have come to power. Rents have become the most expensive in the country, growing approximately 77 per cent. Parking fees have gone up 57 per cent, and another 22 per cent increase is scheduled in this budget.

How many Canberrans’ wages have gone up the 100 per cent that electricity has gone up or the 200 per cent that water has gone up? This shows that the cost of living is real, and we are feeling it here in Canberra. Just as we have seen in so many areas and so many times before, ACT Labor ignores these issues as trivial. I remember when Katy Gallagher was Treasurer and she said that if families were feeling cost of living pressures they should “turn off the Foxtel for a while”.

According to the budget papers, next year will see those core cost of living prices rise even higher. General rates will increase 9.6 per cent; utilities will go up 11.5 per cent;

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