Page 4102 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 18 November 2015

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we are faced with the prospect of either going over the border and developing something like, perhaps, Kowen, which would be incredibly expensive given the distance and its particular geography, or we come back in to building around the town centres and Civic.

It is only the Canberra Liberals that have a policy to make that work, because it is only the Canberra Liberals that will get rid of lease variation charge on Civic and the town centres to enable people actually to do what the government claims they are in favour of—develop density in the town centres and Civic. Yet they are the party that have the policy that stops that. You only have to look at the amount of activity in Civic—the only cranes that have been on the horizon in Civic, in particular, were on deals that were done under the old system.

The densification of Braddon—and everybody seems to quote Braddon like it is an amazing success for the government—only occurred because the landholders, the landowners, changed their leases before the new system so they had the ability to do the sorts of developments that are occurring in Braddon. It is despite, or perhaps even in spite of, the government that Braddon has become the place it has. It has not happened because of the government, and it certainly has not happened because of the government’s policy. We know, for instance, when the Chop Shop pop up wanted to occur it just caused more havoc inside planning and they had to try to work out what they were doing because they had no answer to it.

We face an interesting future. I notice the Chief Minister has just dropped his standard amendment—the first line is that the government is abolishing duty on conveyancing. Well, tell us when it is. You might be reducing it, but you are not abolishing it, because it grew. The take in the first quarter for this year grew. It was beyond your expectation and it will continue to be that way because you are addicted to this revenue. If you knew what you were doing, you would have the honesty to stand up and say, “Here’s the timetable.” We get this standard guff that he is not responsible for the next government or the next Assembly, the ones coming up—and thank goodness for that, because we would not get the honesty that the people of the ACT deserve. They should be able to be told what the progress is on getting rid of a tax.

I think Mr Hanson has said it, and I have said several times, that I expect in next year’s budget there will be a softening on the take. There will be some sort of pre-election soften. “We’ve achieved this. We’ve done this. We’ve done that. It’s working.” Nobody believes it because every quarter they get their rates bills and it just goes up and they get nothing additional for it. If the ACT were a company with tens of billions of dollars in assets, 20,000 staff and a $5 billion turnover and you were a shareholder—let’s face it, the ratepayers and the constituents are the shareholders—you would be looking at your investment and going, “Where’s the return?” The answer is there is no return from this government because they cannot pay for these reforms without burdening the taxpayer more and more, particularly the ratepayer. That makes the cost of living go up which makes the cost of doing business in the ACT go up. They have no genuine vision for the future of the ACT.

I acknowledge Mr Barr has come late to the party on innovation and diversifying the economy. This side has been talking for more than a decade about building the infrastructure that is required to genuinely diversify the ACT economy and broaden the tax base so we can share the burden rather than piling it on the shoulders of

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