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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 11 August 2015) . . Page.. 2606 ..

penalties on people, massive cost increases on many thousands of Canberrans who simply cannot afford them—people on fixed incomes, many of them retirees sitting in a house that they probably have been in for 10, 20, 30 or 40 years, the family home—and Andrew Barr is now taxing that family home and is taxing people out of the family home.

Your income, if you are a self-funded retiree or a pensioner, is going up at CPI, perhaps two per cent a year, and your rates are going up nine or 10 or more per cent a year. How can you afford it? You simply cannot. Indeed, I have got lots of correspondence, as I know all members have, about this very issue and we hear about it a lot. I will go through some of the letters that I have received in recent times. One says:

Needless to say, I am terribly alarmed at my rates bill, which arrived yesterday. I fail to see how such a rise … can be justified. With the cost of living rising at this rate, I will definitely end up having to go on the aged pension long before I die.

Another one says:

Hello Jeremy

Good morning!

I live in Weston and have a property in Canberra. I have seen just yesterday that the Land tax—

we will talk about that later—

has just been doubled. I used to pay 168 dollars per quarter and now it is 338 dollars. As the liberals used to say during campaign that Taxes and Rates would be doubled under Labor. It seems to be true and coming in next few years. It is huge increase and simply unsustainable for an investor to invest in property in the Canberra market … This is highly unsustainable. We certainly need change.

With kind regards.

The point is, for investors who have seen their land tax go up and seen the rates go up, that amount of money means either they are not in a position to continue with that investment, it means that there is no profit coming out of that for many people—this is their nest egg—or they simply transfer those costs to the renter.

Another letter states:

Good Morning Jeremy

My sincere apologies if this sounds rude but I speak on behalf of the entire ACT community who is devastated and shocked by the continuous increases in Rates well above the CPI.

Rates must decrease not increase as they are a complete waste of money for ACT residents. Infrastructure Projects like Light Rail … should not be funded by additional burden on already struggling families … Labor will push ACT into recession due to the ridiculous increases in parking, rego and licences in addition to rates.

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