Page 4112 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

In the meantime we will deliver a five-year forward projection for our tax reforms, based on no change in terms of the commonwealth’s position. If the commonwealth change their taxation arrangements, then that will necessitate a response from the territory government. But we will cut stamp duty in every budget for which I am Treasurer and we look forward to continuing to do that in 2016-17.

MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (11.34): The opposition will not be agreeing to the amendment. As we often see from the Chief Minister, it is inaccurate. It does not reflect the true position. The reality is that at the last election the Canberra Liberals warned that under a Labor government the so-called tax reform of Mr Barr would triple rates. This was denied. There were statements issued and TV advertisements where they said, “No, no, not in this century, not in the next century” and so on. However, the reality is that with the current rate of tax increase, rates are on the path to tripling within 11.6 years because that is the compound effect of the increases we have seen to date.

As Mr Smyth said, there may be some tweak in the lead up to the election next year where all of a sudden it will not be going up at about 10 per cent a year; they will just cut it down to five per cent for that election period. But the people of Canberra are not so naive. Indeed, at the last election there were a number of people I spoke to who struggled to believe that the government would do something that was so cruel to so many families, to so many older people. But they have now got their rates bills. They now say, “You guys were right. They are doing this to us. We did not believe that they were this cruel.”

This is a Labor government and a lot of these people were Labor supporters. They said, “We did not believe that Andrew Barr would be so cruel.” But he has been. There were other people as well who said, “Even if they are going up, I do not mind paying more tax, because I support money going into our health system, education and so on.” These same people are coming to us now saying, “I did not think that we would be spending a billion dollars of our ratepayers’ money on a tram.” If they roll this out across Canberra, it will be many billions of dollars. They are saying, “That is not what I thought my rates increases would be about—funding Mr Rattenbury and Mr Corbell and Mr Barr to build a tram.”

But the reality is that there have been massive rate increases across the board. I look at some of the suburbs in my own electorate. In the past four years we have seen rate increases in places like Curtin at 53 per cent, Duffy 51 per cent, Fisher 50 per cent, Chapman 50 per cent, Yarralumla 63 per cent, Campbell 65 per cent, Ainslie 60 per cent, O’Connor 58 per cent, Downer 58 per cent and Crace 52 per cent. That is on top of already very high rate bills, the biggest in the country. For many Canberrans, Madam Deputy Speaker, as I have said in this place before, as has Mr Smyth, this is just simply unaffordable. There are people on fixed incomes, there are retirees—self-funded retirees and pensioners—there are struggling families, people trying to make ends meet who simply cannot afford these exponential increases that Mr Barr is taking out of ratepayers’ pockets every year.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video