Page 682 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 17 March 2015

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balance their budget because they continually overspend. We used to have a land advantage, Madam Speaker, perhaps when you and I first moved here, when a young family starting out could get a block very cheaply. The blocks used to go for $500 in Woden back in the late 60s and early 70s. Land was actually used to get people to come here, because it was so much cheaper than in places like Sydney and Melbourne.

Let us face it: you are now paying Sydney prices for a leasehold block here. What we are not getting is the advantage. There is no competition. In fact, there is probably a competitive disadvantage. Remember the old UDIA report, the Urban Design Institute report. It said that housing affordability should be so much better in Canberra because the government controls both land and the planning regime. Yet we went from a good place in 2000 to the very bad place that we all know of now.

So there we have it. These are the bits that the minister forgets to put into his report. We actually do have a government that is addicted to land sales. We have got a land-based economy and a land-based government, and that is the problem. A dog is a dog is a dog, Madam Speaker. This Chief Minister’s report is a dog. He states in his report that we cannot rely on the federal government to support our wider city, but just a few years ago, on 21 February 2013, he stated this:

I do not mind where that employment comes from … regardless of whether they are in the public sector or the private sector … We will continue to pursue a set of tax policies that encourage private sector employment growth …

The Chief Minister’s report is really just filled with statements of convenience. I think Robert Macklin pointed out the truth reasonably accurately in the Canberra CityNews last year when he said:

Andrew Barr’s sudden discovery that ‘recession’ was looming was equally unimpressive. Bleating is not an option, Andrew.

The fact is that this minister launched this diversification strategy in 2012. It was in 2012, after coming to office in 2001. It is 11 years too late. As we know, when it was launched it was rebranding, renaming and relaunching things that in the main had been gutted when the minister first came to cabinet in 2006, when they decimated business support in this city. They cut things like tourism funding by a quarter and they got rid of all the programs that he has now conveniently claimed to have launched, when really most of them were in existence then. There is nothing new in this strategy. There was nothing new in his first report in September 2013. There is nothing new in today’s report.

There is one legacy that this mob in government has and that is the Costello review and the gutting of business support in our city. It is interesting that we are yet to see the Costello review. The legacy that this mob in government has is high taxes, higher charges, more red tape and more regulation. We all know that. Despite the words that they are going to look at cutting red tape and reducing taxes, most businesses know that this is not happening. Indeed, he went as far as to say last year, when he antagonised the local business community: “The private sector are not exactly stepping up to the plate at the moment, making large investments. Although we are

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