Page 2305 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 5 June 2013
The minister says that the previous funding under national partnerships expires. It does not. It is being cancelled. It actually appears in the budget. If you go to budget paper 4, pages 299 and 300, you will see all the lines in the budget: “Commonwealth grants—empowering local schools NP”, national partnerships; “Commonwealth grants—national schools SPP”; “Commonwealth grants—reward for great teachers”; “Commonwealth grants—reward for school improvement”; revised profiling; low socioeconomic status school communities; and on and on. These were all the programs which were in the budget—in the budget and planned, ready to roll out. When you compare that with Gonski, there is a $31 million or thereabouts deficit. And the minister is still not being truthful about it.
I commend Mr Smyth’s motion to the Assembly. We should support it because what it shows is that this government has provided a budget that is dishonest.
MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Health and Minister for Higher Education) (3.48): As the Treasurer has outlined when speaking to Mr Smyth’s motion, the government will not be supporting this motion today. What we have seen in the last 24 hours from the Leader of the Opposition is his complete failure to understand responsible budgeting and any sense of fiscal management. Clumsy mistakes are being made about what the budget presents. There was a figure he used today in relation to servicing debt. He is alleging that the budget is going to cost ACT taxpayers, I think, $600 million over four years. That shows his failure to even understand how to read budget papers or an acknowledgement that the government borrows on behalf of ACTEW.
Even this morning we had the classic example from the Leader of the Opposition of this belief that you should never cut services; you should never, ever stop anything you are doing. There was a question to me in the Assembly about a program that was funded for four years that has come to its four-year end. You should never be able to do that. You should pay everybody more. You should never raise a fee or charge. You should deliver more, but you can never run a deficit. It just does not make any sense at all.
Then on tax reform we have him saying that there is an argument for reducing stamp duty and transferring that over to rates. So there we have it—a new position from the Liberal Party. It is a position I actually welcome because it supports the view of the Labor Party. In terms of transferring the revenue base from stamp duty over to rates, there is some argument for that. There we have the first admission from the Leader of the Opposition that there is some argument for that and, yes, we do want to see a reduction in stamp duty.
It is an admission that the Liberal Party genuinely believes that nine per cent of Canberrans should pay 25 per cent of the revenue base; it is an admission that that is what they support. When I look at the houses that are for sale on allhomes, the majority of them are family homes. Taxing families—only nine per cent that choose to move in a year—is okay from the Liberal Party’s point of view: no probs with that; you can spend $40,000 on stamp duty. But a more equitable system that delivers an increase, on average, of $139 per household is outrageous. You cannot have that. We much prefer families paying $40,000 forever on stamp duty without any reform there.