Page 124 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 28 November 2012

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Phillips, saying, “All the work we did on the Quinlan review—well, don’t take too much notice of that table that says rates will triple. We don’t actually have an alternative to that table.” They still have not put out an alternative. I would ask Mr Barr, when he gets up, to give us the alternative. What will rates be in five years, in 10 years or in 15 years? In fact, most pertinently, what will rates be when you abolish stamp duty, which is what you committed to at the election? Katy Gallagher said it in the ads; she said it in a number of forums. She said, “We’re abolishing stamp duty. We’re not collecting any more revenue.” So when will stamp duty be abolished? Because when stamp duty is abolished and those other taxes are changed, $350 million will be imposed on household rates.

We had a change of heart from Ben Phillips, it seems, because before the election he was saying it was efficient and it was equitable. After the election, it turns out that it is actually more efficient but less equitable—more efficient but less equitable. He has changed his tune either side of the election in terms of what this does. We agree with the latest statement from Mr Phillips. We agree with the latest position from Mr Phillips that it is less equitable. Of course it is less equitable. We are seeing households, many of whom have been in their homes for many years, whose property values have increased over that time but their income has not necessarily. In fact, in many cases it has declined. Yet they are being asked to pay thousands of dollars more per year to pay for the government’s so-called efficient reforms. This will continue to be an issue. The outer suburbs of Canberra said very clearly that cost imposts placed on them by this Labor government are too much. They have sent a very clear message. The Canberra Liberals have heard it and we will continue to fight for those families who are suffering under the burden of cost of living pressures. (Time expired.)

MR BARR (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Sport and Recreation, Minister for Tourism and Events and Minister for Community Services) (10.18): I thank the Leader of the Opposition for raising this issue this morning. It is of course an important issue for Canberrans and one the government is very happy to discuss. However, it is important to focus on the facts, Madam Speaker, and that is something the Leader of the Opposition struggles with most of his life.

The government have a very proud record of assisting those in need and the most vulnerable in our community. We offer a range of concessions to assist with cost of living pressures, including utilities, education and training, housing and land, health and wellbeing, and transport.

As part of our targeted assistance strategy we have focused on providing assistance to those who are most in need, whether it is through concessions or through other means. The government have a particular focus on making housing more affordable for Canberrans who wish to rent and buy.

Earlier this year, I released phase III of the government’s affordable housing action plan, which furthers the government’s work in this area and demonstrates our commitment to providing affordable housing to Canberrans, particularly those on lower incomes.

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