Page 412 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 17 February 2015

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Mr Coe: Madam Assistant Speaker, I draw the Assembly’s attention to what the matter of public importance is—the impact of ACT government decisions on household budgets. I just wondered how all these commonwealth decisions may be applicable to ACT government decisions.

Mr Gentleman: On the point of order, Madam Assistant Speaker.

MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER: On the point of order, Mr Gentleman.

Mr Gentleman: MPIs are a wide-ranging debate, and we are allowed to comment on whatever is appropriate in relation to the matter of public importance.

MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Thank you for your assistance, Mr Gentleman. Mr Barr, I am prepared to give you some leeway in your introductory comments, but we will move, perhaps very shortly, to the topic at hand.

MR BARR: Thank you, Madam Assistant Speaker. Household budgets are indeed an important topic, and something that is on the minds of Canberra households. When they look at the two policy alternatives between the Liberal Party and the Labor Party, and the impacts that Liberal policies have on their household budgets, they vote Labor, Madam Assistant Speaker, because they do not want the Liberal recipe of cuts, cuts and cuts. They do not want a tax on their GP visits. They do not want a tax on their education. They do not want young people thrown off the dole. They do want fair pay increases.

When it comes to household budgets, that choice is very clear. We have seen it in Queensland. We have seen it in Victoria. We have seen it federally. More than half of the Prime Minister’s backbench does not want him in the job. The Liberal Party knows this. It is the absolute height of hypocrisy for Mr Coe to come into this place and talk about the Liberal Party’s track record on household budgets.

The Liberal Party also knows that the single biggest impact on a household budget is whether there is someone in that household who has a job. That is Labor’s priority. It is all about jobs. Again, we can contrast the approach of the political parties. Those opposite are all about cutting jobs. That is in their DNA. That is what they believe in. That is what they run for public office for—to cut public sector employment. Public sector employment is a significant economic contributor in this city. Let us be very clear. When it comes to the question of the household budget, which party is hacking into the household budget? The Liberal Party.

This government remains committed to a range of reforms to assist the most vulnerable in our community. We provide a significant range of concessions. We provide a significant range of concessions to ACT households, in the areas of general rates, the fire and emergency services levy, drivers licence and motor vehicle registration fees, public transport fares, and access to a range of concession cards. Concessions are also available from the ACT government to help meet the cost of spectacles, the energy costs of life support equipment, the taxi subsidy scheme, and a range of energy and water efficiency programs. Over 17,000 home owners in the territory benefit from the ACT government’s rates rebate. Around 25,000 households benefit from our energy and utility concessions.

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