Page 2032 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 15 May 2013

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Mr Smyth: He’s going to give us his speech from this morning now, is he?

MADAM SPEAKER: Order, members!

Mr Coe interjecting—

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Coe, Mr Barr has the floor.

MR BARR: I am pleased that those opposite are interested but it would seem a pity to give exactly the same speech twice, so I will just give it once. I am pleased, of course, to be able to outline to the Assembly the ACT government’s warm endorsement of the federal government’s commitment to two nation building reforms contained within the federal budget.

Mr Hanson: Shame!

MR BARR: It is interesting that before I even finish a sentence, the Leader of the Opposition is calling out “shame” for the ACT government’s warm embrace of the national disability insurance scheme and DisabilityCare. That speaks volumes of the true position of the Leader of the Opposition.

The two key nation building reforms have been funded, and funded in the long term in last night’s federal budget—schools reform, education funding, and disability funding. Disability care and the national plan for school improvement will be of significant benefit to residents in the ACT and they will be of significant benefit to the ACT economy. They will provide better opportunities for people with a disability and an even better educated community. We certainly look forward to working with the commonwealth government on the rollout of these programs.

The commonwealth budget forecasts an increase in average public service staffing levels in 2013-14, although this is off a lower base in 2012-13 than anticipated in the previous commonwealth budget. It must be said that there is a significant difference between what was outlined in the budget last night and what is proposed by the federal opposition. As I alluded to in an earlier answer, there is new funding for the CSIRO’s Black Mountain facilities and a funding boost for Geoscience Australia. These are, of course, important national institutions based here in the ACT.

I must say I particularly welcome the extra funding for the ACCC. We hope that this funding will be focused on competition modelling and particularly focusing on petrol prices and supermarkets. The Tax Studies Institute at the ANU is a welcome addition to public policy debate in this country. I certainly look forward to another positive voice on tax reform.

I am particularly pleased that in the tax reform roadmap booklet that was released as part of the federal budget, the ACT’s bold, comprehensive and progressive plan for reform of property taxes was acknowledged. These are the very same reforms that those across the chamber continue to oppose. Talk about being on the wrong side of history!

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