Page 2531 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 11 August 2015

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hours, so you are forced to take your vehicle in because there is no public transport that is adequate if you are coming in from Belconnen or coming up from Tuggeranong to get into Civic to work at a cafe, pull beers or whatever it is.

Or perhaps we had in mind a family—a family that wanted to go in and take their kids to the movies as a special treat, knowing the enormous expense of that, knowing that, when you have two or three children going to the movies and getting the popcorn, taking them for that treat is an enormous expense. It is a thing that some families do not do very often; it is a treat. Any impost on that is going to deter those families from their ability to do that.

That was what we were thinking. That is what Mr Smyth, Ms Lawder and others from the opposition on the estimates committee were thinking when we were questioning this impost on Canberra families, on low paid workers. What was the response we saw from those opposite—from Mr Barr, backed up by Ms Fitzharris? What did they say? Mr Barr’s quote is this, Madam Speaker. This is what he thinks; this is where his head is at. I will quote from the Canberra Times:

I suspect that the idea that someone is going to be deterred from their $100 dinner by a $5 parking fee is certainly [wrong].

He went on to refer to the cost of some sparkling water at high-end restaurants. This is the life that Mr Barr leads. This is the prism through which he views the world—high-end restaurants, going to Civic at a fancy restaurant with his mates, ordering high-end dinners over $100 and forgoing sparkling mineral water.

If anything highlights the difference in world view, the view about what we are doing in this place to look after Canberrans, it is that statement from this Chief Minister. He does not seem to care about low paid workers. He does not seem to care about people who are struggling, coming up in their cars from Tuggeranong or Belconnen or coming down from Gungahlin. What he cares about is his $100 dinners in Civic with his mates and their sparkling mineral water. That is the government that this man leads, and it is a government that is out of touch.

I wonder if you could say that it has lost touch. Sometimes when Mr Barr speaks, when he makes these sorts of comments, I wonder if this man has ever been in touch. We have seen this over a number of years when he has been increasing everybody’s rates—tripling them, as we now know, as has been confirmed based on what is in the budget. On average, it is 10 per cent a year. If you keep that going, as it has been going year after year, in 11.6 years your rates have tripled.

Of course, for a lot of people it has been going up more than that. As we saw at the weekend, commercial rates have gone through the roof. There are businesses all over this town who are struggling to meet their payments. I talk with these businesses, as do my colleagues. I talk to businesses across this town—in Fyshwick, Mitchell, Manuka or Phillip—who are moving out and going across the border to Queanbeyan. It is a lot cheaper to do business there. These are not swanky businesses; these are not the high rollers. These are, in many cases, the mum and dad operators, the people who have mortgaged their houses to invest in a business and are now in a position where

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