Page 2083 - Week 07 - Thursday, 4 June 2015

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The people of Canberra do not want a light rail for the few; they want opportunity for everyone. And we will give it to them. Yesterday, in this chamber, Mr Barr called the Canberra Liberals the party of business. Yes, we are, and proudly so. We speak to businesses all over this town, many of whom have been in Canberra for years. All of them are feeling the squeeze from this government. One business who spoke to us just yesterday, a stalwart of the small business scene for decades, is now threatening to leave the ACT for good, all because of this government’s policies. Many have already left for Queanbeyan or further afield, or, sadly, have shut down forever.

That is why we will always support small business by reducing taxes that stifle growth, reducing red tape and promoting opportunity, and not punishing those who are trying to get this territory moving, especially with their massive commercial rates hikes.

We will invest in jobs—not short-term jobs from a single project but long-term jobs that stay in the territory and build for future generations. And if the people of Canberra place their trust in us, we will not triple their rates.

The Canberra Liberals will never forget that we are here for all of Canberra. We will go in a different direction—aimed at the future, aimed at growth, aimed at leaving no-one behind. Unlike Andrew Barr, I am more than happy to put our plan to the people of Canberra. I challenge Andrew Barr to do the same. I challenge Andrew Barr to have the courage of his convictions and give the people their say on light rail. If he does not, he is treating the people of Canberra with contempt.

Mr Barr, I say to you now, and I will keep saying it every day until the election: the people of Canberra do not want your light rail. They do not want your rates rises. They do not want an agenda for the few paid for by the many. They want a Canberra with opportunity and services for all, shared by all of Canberra and provided by all of Canberra. Mr Barr, let the people of Canberra have their say.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (3.24): I rise today to speak on behalf of the ACT Greens in response to this ALP-Greens government 2015-16 budget that was handed down by the Treasurer on Tuesday.

I have played an active role in the development of this budget, and of course that brings with it both challenges and opportunities. This is not the budget of a Greens government; rather it is a budget of an ALP government with one Greens representative. However, being a Greens minister in an ALP government has given me the opportunity to help shape the direction of this budget.

More important, though, is the work that has been undertaken, especially over the last two terms of the Assembly, by all of the Greens representatives in this place who have put forward a positive policy agenda, through our parliamentary agreements and other mechanisms, and whose influence through many years of work is starting to really show in the budget priorities of the ACT government, especially in the areas of health, transport and housing.

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