Page 3626 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 22 October 2013
Mr Barr: Yes, there is a variety of modelling.
But when we have asked him on what is probably about half a dozen occasions now to table that modelling in a variety of forums, he has refused to. He says he will not do it because there are a number of variables and they will consider it each time. So maybe we could use this as another opportunity as we have this discussion today to ask Mr Barr to table the modelling he has done so he can put to bed once and for all what is going to happen with our rates. But he will not, and we know he will not. He is just going to hope that this tax reform can keep moving without that modelling being tabled and that your rates will triple before it is tabled.
The real indignity of this is that it is essentially a bit of death tax by stealth. Many older Canberrans are in established properties and do not want to leave those properties in places like Deakin or Curtin. People have been in those properties in some cases for 30, 40, 50 years and they simply cannot afford to pay that increase in rates. What is the government’s response? “Not a problem. A death tax, we will take it out of your estate.” A death tax on people who have struggled and worked and lived in their homes for decades. And when you are out doorknocking—Mr Barr probably does not know what doorknocking is—you meet these people and they will tell you what effect it has on their lives when they see a rates bill they simply cannot pay.
We think housing affordability is a core function of this Assembly. We do not subscribe to the Quinlan view—squeeze them till they bleed but not until they die—which has been taken on by Mr Quinlan’s protege, Mr Barr. We took a number of policies to the last election that would have an immediate effect: repeal the tax reform that triples rates, cut stamp duty in half for eligible first homes purchased up to $500,000, extend the homebuyer concession scheme to established homes, and reduce the government’s unit tax, the LVC, to the 2011-12 level with immediate effect.
Housing affordability is an area very dear to our hearts, and I look forward to hearing Ms Lawder’s comments on this issue. It is an issue we will continue to drive in this Assembly, and we will continue to fight while this Labor-Greens government pushes up rates, pushes up people’s stamp duty, pushes up government fees and services and cripples the business sector through a whole raft of regulations and laws that make it so difficult for people to do business.
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) (4.35): I thank Mr Hanson for raising the issue today. The government is undertaking a number of measures aimed at making home ownership, and rentals, more affordable.
The strength of the territory economy over the past decade or so has meant that demand for housing has been very strong. This is particularly due to our high, above national average, incomes; our very low unemployment rate; and our very high rate of population growth.