Page 3727 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 23 October 2013
local business, community groups, neighbouring governments and other stakeholders. There is no reason to sit back and relax. We have a lot of work to do. We have got three more years before we face the people of the ACT again and they cast their judgement, and I do not intend to waste one day of it.
DR BOURKE (Ginninderra) (3.57): Mr Assistant Speaker, I am speaking to Mr Hanson’s amendment; I am going to speak to the specifics of Mr Hanson’s amendment.
Firstly, talking about schools, this government has a strong track record for delivering high-quality education. It ranks among the best in Australia in a range of educational achievement measures, including the PISA results as well as the NAPLAN results. The government has targeted its investments in school infrastructure to maximise value for money for Canberrans.
The major projects which were completed in the 2012-13 year included the Red Hill school redevelopment, the expansion of Macgregor Primary School, the expansion of Majura Primary School, the Canberra College Performing Arts Centre, expansion works at nine preschools and older school upgrades to Yarralumla and Hughes primary schools. In 2012-13 the government also completed the performing arts centre at Canberra College, expansion of Red Hill school and construction of a new car park. As well, there were the Franklin Early Childhood School; the first greenfield early childhood school in Australia, including a 120-place childcare centre; and the Neville Bonner Primary School, incorporating an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learning and cultural centre. Both schools were delivered on time ready for the 2013 school year and were delivered millions of dollars under budget.
On tax reform, the ACT government committed to undertaking significant reform to the territory’s taxation system over a 20-year period as part of the 2012-13 budget. As part of that reform, the government has released significant amounts of information which underpins the decisions taken as part of that reform process. There is currently another motion in the Assembly relating to tabling tax reform documentation; the government will be responding to this motion before the end of the fortnight. This reform will put the territory on a strong footing for the future and provide flexibility to deal with our ageing population and demographic changes into the future. The ACT government was the first government in Australia—the first in Australia, Mr Assistant Speaker—to undertake such a reform. However, it was recognised that reform is a long-term process that will require adjustments over the long term. The 2012-13 budget announced that reform would be undertaken over a 20-year period to provide time for the market to adjust to the changes and to ensure that the reform does not impact significantly on Canberrans.
The ACT is in a unique position to pursue tax reform. It has the roles of both a state and local government. The reforms have been undertaken in a responsible way with a staged approach to allow ACT households and the economy time to adjust. Reforms have been funded through general rates to ensure revenue neutrality overall whilst preserving capacity for government services and ensuring that future generations do not bear the higher economic costs of an unfair and inefficient tax system.