Page 2658 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 11 August 2015

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that there may be some connection with the Community Services Directorate. You must be relevant to the topic, so please do your best to make your discussion about sport and rec relevant to the Community Services Directorate.

MR RATTENBURY: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I do not wish to cause consternation in the chamber; I simply was going to reflect on some matters that were not addressed before in the discussion. I did not have the opportunity to answer questions put by Mr Doszpot. I am unsure how to proceed. I do not think I can genuinely say in answering Mr Doszpot’s questions I am addressing the Community Services Directorate, so I think I will just sit down and let the debate go on. I am happy to chat to Mr Doszpot in the antechamber and answer his questions there if he wishes.

MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Rattenbury. As a commentary, this illustrates some of the issues with this mega-directorate when people can only speak twice. Mr Doszpot bumped up against that issue in trying to speak on all of the elements within the portfolio.

MR DOSZPOT (Molonglo) (9.05): I will be addressing ageing, output class 3 within the Community Services Directorate. The ageing portfolio is an area that is often overlooked by this government. In the ACT our population is ageing at an increasingly rapid rate and the government needs to start recognising the crucial roles that seniors play in our community. We have one of the fastest growing populations of people aged over 60 years. The government needs to recognise the difficulties that current cost of living pressures are causing elderly Canberrans and start to address those very serious concerns.

Cost of living pressures are creating severe financial difficulties for all Canberrans, but particularly our seniors. These are things like the cost of rates, the cost of parking, the cost of registering a vehicle, commercial rates and land taxes, just to name a few, all of which have increased under Labor and all of which are increasing by far higher than the normal CPI. These extra fees and charges are not going back to the people of Canberra but, rather, are funding the government’s extravagant light rail plans. The territory’s budget is over $700 million in deficit, and with the plans for light rail, this is set to dramatically increase.

The impact of the government’s latest budget will hit Canberra’s seniors hard with a nine per cent average rise across the board. I ask how pensioners are supposed to find the extra money to pay these additional increased bills. These people who have positively contributed to the workforce and community for many years and have now reached a point in their lives where they should be able to enjoy life are forced to live scraping from week to week. Rising rates are forcing Canberrans who are nearing retirement to either continue working to ensure they have sufficient funds to meet daily living expenses or selling up and moving to cheaper housing interstate. A number are doing just that. I acknowledge the small gesture that if Canberra seniors downsize, the stamp duty of the new smaller home is waived, but the point is that people should not be forced into that situation because of unreasonable rate rises.

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