Page 3889 - Week 12 - Thursday, 29 October 2015

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Rates increases

Discussion of matter of public importance

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Dr Bourke): The Speaker has received letters from Mr Doszpot, Mr Hanson, Mrs Jones, Ms Lawder, Mr Smyth and Mr Wall proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly. In accordance with standing order 79, she has determined that the matter proposed by Mr Wall be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

The impact of rates increases on the Canberra community

MR WALL (Brindabella) (4.03): With less than a year to go to the ACT election it is mighty surprising to see that no-one from the opposite side of this chamber, no-one from the government, thought it important enough to submit a matter of public importance today. I think that is just ironic. But, never fear, the Canberra Liberals are here to raise the opinions of members of our electorates and the concerns of members of our community here in the chamber today, most importantly, on the impact that rates are having on many Canberra families.

The impact of rates increases on the Canberra community is enormous and it is felt by families, pensioners and individuals alike across this territory. The discussion really becomes more about the issue of fairness, the fairness of imposing increase after increase of not only rates but all manner of fees and charges on the average Canberra rate payer, with very little in the way of return from this government.

In 2012 my colleagues and I took to the ACT electorate a very simple message which was an important one for them to remember: Labor or Greens equals triple your rates. Those opposite denied this fact, argued against it and said that this was untrue. But may I say, Mr Assistant Speaker, the truth is in the figures and the pie is growing. Rates are tripling and Canberra families are the victim for this.

The evidence of rates tripling and crippling many Canberrans is well and truly proving true as we prophesised in the 2012 election. Mr Barr claimed that rates would not triple “in our lifetime” and then clarified by saying, “At the end of the century sometime maybe.” However this year’s budget provides evidence to the contrary.

In the budget papers in the year prior to Mr Barr’s so-called economic reform, the revenue from rates totalled just over $198 million. The total rates revenue for last year for forward estimates is nearly $554 million. That is an increase of 2.8 times, and that is only eight years into these reform changes. They are well on the way to tripling.

Looking at some of the increases for home owners in my electorate of Brindabella, the evidence there is alarming. In the three years since the 2012 election, residents in suburbs such as, say, Fadden have seen their rates increase by over $400, in Calwell over $400 and in Conder over $350. In Banks, residential rates were $1,199 at the time of the last territory election. This year residents are paying $1,628. In Monash rates are up from $1,240 in 2012-13 to $1,544 this year.

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