Page 2576 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 7 August 2013
He can table the modelling that they have done. Nobody starts on a tax reform process that they have embarked upon without knowing how to get there and when you get there. If you do, you are probably a fool because you cannot guarantee anything there.
They have done this work. They have some data; they must have. They hide behind cabinet-in-confidence; they hide behind budget process. But what they will not tell you is the real truth. It is time they were called to account. It is time for the Greens to hold them to account. It is time that this Assembly is treated with some respect and given the full picture on these three—and we have only picked out three—very important issues that have a huge financial impact on the ACT.
Remember the Auditor-General’s report on the financial audits last year where she said that the greatest risk is the debt? The greatest contributor to the debt is the government’s capital works program, and here we are about to embark upon a project that is expected to cost over $600 million. If you go down the same path as the dam that went from $145 million to $250 million to $360 million to $400-odd million, what will light rail go to—$600 million, $900 million , $1,200 million , $1,500 million? That is the way that they deliver capital works. We saw it with the GDE. The original cost for the GDE was $55 million and it is now somewhere just under $200 million. So it quadrupled under the management, the poor economic and capital works management, of this government.
It is a very simple motion, Madam Speaker. We ask for information; we ask for true and accurate information. We ask for that information before we debate the bill. The delay should only be for about a month. It is not unreasonable that we get the full picture so that everyone knows what is happening with this city’s budget. (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) (10.16): The government will not be supporting Mr Smyth’s motion today. It is nothing but blatant political grandstanding and we have just witnessed 15 minutes of it from the shadow treasurer—no considered or intelligent contribution to economic debate in the territory. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
The government is proud of the taxation reforms that are currently underway. These reforms are making the territory’s revenue base more stable and more efficient. Quite simply, the state and territory taxation systems are inefficient and unsustainable in their current form. Having a competitive taxation system is vital for this territory’s economic future.
Every credible economist recognises the need for this reform. The Business Council of Australia has noted in its recent report, An action plan for enduring prosperity, the importance of having a competitive tax system and the benefits of undertaking long-term taxation reform. A couple of weeks ago a major report from PricewaterhouseCoopers said: