Page 3361 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 18 September 2013

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The government has also raised the payroll tax threshold to $1.75 million. This is the highest threshold in the nation, and we are the lowest taxing jurisdiction for small and medium sized businesses in this country. We will progressively raise the threshold to $2 million over the course of this parliamentary term to further remove 80 businesses from paying any payroll tax at all.

The government is developing a new brand Canberra to create a platform for people to better understand and engage with Canberra as a place to live, work, invest or visit. It will have a particular focus on tourism.

It is disappointing that, for the first time since 1966, there is no federal minister for tourism in the new federal government. The portfolio has been split in half, into international and domestic components, and sits across two different ministers. And there is no minister in the new commonwealth government who holds the title of minister for tourism. Tourism has lost its focus as a result of these changes. It will be to the detriment of the industry nationally and internationally, and it is a retrograde step to not have a tourism minister in the federal government.

MR SMYTH: Supplementary.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Smyth.

MR SMYTH: Minister, if all is as well as you say, why did the CIE report to the budget say that jobs were at risk in the ACT due to a lack of diversification in the ACT economy?

MR BARR: Because the incoming federal government has a plan to slash 12,000 jobs. That is why jobs are at risk. Jobs have been growing at an above national average rate. We have the lowest unemployment rate in the country. The only risk to that—the only risk—is the decision of the Liberal Party to send this economy into reverse as a result of their policies to cut jobs, to cut funding to NICTA, to cut funding to those areas that will contribute to jobs growth.

The shadow Treasurer may not like to hear it, but his party is the only party and the only group of people responsible for reducing employment in this city. The Liberal Party stands condemned for cutting jobs in this city. They are responsible for the downturn in employment and the downturn in our economy, and they stand condemned for that. They will hear about this time and time again. The hypocrisy of the shadow Treasurer is there for all to see and we are seeing it here. He will be reminded of this time and time again. The Liberal Party are cutting jobs in this city.

Disability services—respite care

MR WALL: My question is to the Minister for Disability, Children and Young People. Minister on 12 September you released a media statement outlining changes to ACT respite services. Some of these changes include the closure of the government run respite house Elouera. When were families who use this facility first informed of the closure?

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