Page 3667 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 27 October 2015
are going to affect their financial security probably for decades to come, if not for the rest of their lives, based on the information that they had available, in good faith.
But now the government is going to change the land rent rules. So the disallowable instrument is going to change the rules. If that had been stated at the beginning of this process then people could have made a decision based on that. They could have said, “Market value—I’m not going to go with that; I’m going to make a different decision. I’m not going to plan my life around that.”
But when they sought advice, accessed documents and got onto websites, all of the available information and advice said, “This is the land rent scheme. This is how the land rent scheme works, and it is unimproved value.” What the Chief Minister, with his disallowable instrument, is going to do is change the rules on people who have already committed, made decisions on land which they owned, and which, in a terrible position, they now have to rent back, through this tragedy. They are now being told, “Yes, you can do that, but we’re going to change the rules to sting you for a bit more cash.” It is to get a bit more cash into Mr Barr’s budget—a bit more money for his tram, a bit more money so that he can then roll out capital metro across this town, at many billions of dollars. But he is going to say, “No, to get back on your piece of land, we’re going to change the rules so we can get more money out of you.”
That is what this is about. This is about getting more money out of people. This is about going from the unimproved to the market value. So this is a dollar decision. This is a decision made by a government that is prepared to spend billions of dollars on, if you like, a tram, but it is going to affect people who have to, under the land rent legislation, be essentially low income people. These are not rich people. These are people who have been affected by the Mr Fluffy tragedy. He is going to say, “We see an opportunity to make some more money out of you.” Let me be very clear: we will not be supporting that disallowable instrument. We will be moving for disallowance.
As I said we will support the bill in principle, and if the government wants to leave it there, they will have our support. But if Mr Barr moves his amendments, as I outlined, we cannot support it. As a consequence, if Mr Rattenbury votes for it then we cannot support the bill.
This is difficult for government and for the opposition, but most of all it is difficult for the affected Mr Fluffy home owners. There are some extraordinarily difficult stories here. There are some tragic stories. I know that Mr Kefford, the director of the task force, deals with these on a daily basis. I know that these are extraordinarily difficult issues. There is one case that I have been in communication with the government about, with regard to the valuation of a home and a child with a disability. It is difficult to imagine, in many ways, more difficult circumstances that people could find themselves in. They are losing their homes, they are losing their financial asset and, if they are forced to move away from their block of land, they are in many ways losing their friends and their communities.
I say to the government that we understand there are financial pressures, but I ask you to consider greater flexibility and greater fairness. We are not talking in this case