Page 419 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 17 February 2015

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bills. We will continue to be the jurisdiction with the lowest annual average electricity bills of any jurisdiction in the country. We will do so in a way that delivers energy efficiency programs that reduce the energy needs of households, therefore reducing their bills as well as their emissions, and we will do so in a way that allows us to transition to a clean energy future.

MRS JONES (Molonglo) (4.20): The enormity of government debt that is being entered into by this government is one thing to grasp. However, the decisions that have been made over the last number of years are making life untenable for some families in Canberra today. The budget of a real family from Belconnen who have managed to save up for a home—the husband of the family is a teacher and the mum is at home with the children—demonstrates the situation for many Canberrans today. It does not matter whether the minister stands up and talks about having the lowest average electricity prices in the ACT when other elements of the household budget, including rates, are making it very difficult for people to survive.

The father of this family takes home an income of $65,000 a year. The mother being at home attracts a family tax benefit of $9,000 a year, so a total income of $74,000. This family do not have Foxtel. They do not have holidays. They only have one car. They have purchased quite a modest home—mentioning which, they have already paid full stamp duty according to the pre-change scheme. Their annual budget is thus: they pay $26,000 a year on their mortgage and $7,680 a year on their car loan. The credit card interest in the last financial year, when this calculation was done, amounted to around $787. They do not have any savings. They pay $1,400 in rates and $1,200 in home insurance, and $3,640 is budgeted for home maintenance in an older house that requires a certain amount of maintenance. They pay $1,200 for electricity, $400 for gas, $1,000 for water, $600 for internet, and the phone—home and mobile—amounts to $1,200. They pay $3,250 in health insurance, $2,000 in medical costs and $15,000 in groceries, including food. They pay car insurance of $1,000, car maintenance of $1,000 in a good year and rego of $1,000. Their petrol costs are $2,600. They pay $500 a year in parking and $600 a year in public transport, the father often going to work on the bus. For unexpected expenses or, heaven forbid, the occasional amount of entertainment, they fork out $2,000.

They find it is quite a tight budget, with total expenses being $74,057. At the end of the year they are already working on minus $57. This hardworking family is going backwards every year. This Labor government seems happy to keep putting financial pressures on families just like this one all over our city. This government has no concern as to how the increase in rates, which has already begun and continues apace, will directly impact on this family and many like them across Canberra.

When I presented this situation to Mr Barr last year and asked him how they would survive, I was shocked to hear them respond that the father would need to get a pay rise and a good union to represent him. It is truly shocking that Mr Barr, as the Treasurer and now Chief Minister, would believe that the job of the trade union movement is to protect people from high taxing Labor governments and that the union movement has become some kind of an insurance policy for families from the gouging of Labor governments.

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