Page 1641 - Week 06 - Tuesday, 12 May 2015

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There is a good fiscal policy for you: “We are waiting for the feds.” Here is the man who is in control, he has his hand on the levers, and at the end of the day he is waiting for the federal government. It is worth reading the quote:

The temporary deficits over the next three years reflect the Government’s investment in jobs and services.

“The temporary deficits.” We will see about the temporary deficits, because we know it has already blown out with the Mr Fluffy payments, but beyond the Mr Fluffy payments the deficit blew out more because this government cannot control their spending. You have only to look at Mr Barr’s record on economic diversification. I think it is more of an economic diversification fantasy, especially in light of the fact that the last budget had about $600,000 to directly support local businesses—although he claimed there was a $4.4 million package, mainly comprising re-branded existing ACT government programs, many of which in fact look like the programs ACT Labor took to the chopping block in 2006.

This government continues to spend more and more, and rack up the debt, without really having any strategy to equate for it. You only need to look at some of the areas that we cover in the fees and charges. Let us go to the commence and complete fees, which have been dreadfully handled, particularly by this Treasurer, who announced one day that they were all gone. The commence and complete fees were gone, but he could not get it through cabinet, did not have the support. Then he did not tell anybody that they were going but said, “We’re going to change some of them,” and that has completely left many developers exposed, without the ability to complete their jobs.

Let us read from “Call to action—a joint industry submission to the ACT government for regulatory and process reform in the best interests of Canberra” dated February 2014, from the Business Council, Consult Australia, the Master Builders, the Planning Institute and the Property Council. They are five organisations with a fair amount of knowledge of what they are talking about. And what do they say about commence and complete? They state:

The anomaly of applying the fees across all sectors was not corrected by government, and following the abolition of land tax and the increase in general rates for the commercial sector the effect has been to increase the fees to an unsustainable level and at a much greater rate than originally contemplated by government.

They did not know what they were doing. The consequence was an enormous burden placed on industry and a slowing down of the economy. The submission continues:

There is significant anecdotal evidence that the purchasers of non-residential land are now factoring in the potential commence and complete fees when purchasing land, with a consequent reduction in prices paid to the LDA, resulting in a reduction in revenue paid to government from dividends from the LDA.

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