Page 2331 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 5 June 2013

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(d) the Cost of Living Statement excluded significant and basic Government charges such as parking fees and the utilities tax;

(e) the Government has an accumulative deficit of $575 million over the forward estimates;

(f) the Government has embarked on a disproportionately high carbon reduction and renewable energy target;

(g) that the Government is currently undergoing a massive restructure of the tax system that, according to numbers provided by the Government, will triple rates revenue; and

(h) the Government continues to prioritise expenditure on items such as the Skywhale instead of measures that will ease the burden on Canberra families; and

(2) calls on the Government to:

(a) prioritise expenditure decisions to reduce the impact of cost of living pressures on Canberra families; and

(b) provide a more comprehensive Cost of Living Statement in the ACT Budget.

It is most timely that this motion comes before the Assembly today. Given the context of the budget and the debate we have had about rates, increased fees and charges and the impact of this budget on Canberra families, it is timely that we talk about the cost of living pressures on Canberra families. It is certainly something this government are not focused on and do not assess as a priority. Their priorities are elsewhere.

There is no doubt that Canberra families are experiencing cost of living pressures. The cost of living situation in Canberra appears to be getting worse. On 8 May Anglicare reported that 98 per cent of low income households in New South Wales and the ACT accessing their emergency relief services were not sure where their next meal was coming from or were unable to provide food for their family on a regular basis. This is the government that talks about a transformation of Canberra. Further, they reported that 95 per cent of families surveyed ran out of food in the last three months because of unexpected expenses such as medical bills, car repairs, sudden rent increases or large power bills. This demonstrates that for many Canberra families the cost of living pressures are real.

And this issue goes far beyond Katy Gallagher’s recommendation to simply turn off your Foxtel. Since Labor came to power in 2001 utility charges have increased significantly. Water prices have tripled, electricity prices are up 85 per cent, including a 17.8 per cent increase this year due to the carbon tax. Property rates and charges have increased by 90 per cent, with some suburbs having increases above 100 per cent. A chart in the Canberra Times showed the impact of the budget in one year alone on every suburb in Canberra. We have seen increases in suburbs like Banks of 152 per cent; Charnwood, 158 per cent; Chisholm, 130 per cent; Dunlop, 137 per cent; Spence,

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