Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 11 February 2016) . . Page.. 268 ..
to raise a family and get ahead in this town when they are working in the most expensive city, in many ways, in the country. That is why we have made this fundamental decision about the government that we will be: we will be a government for all Canberra. We will be there for all the parents who want to see their children, their nieces and nephews, their grandchildren and so on more able to work and make their way early in life. Helping families get ahead is a core Liberal value.
We are here for all the weekend workers who provide such valuable services as emergency and early response services, and supporting our front-line services is a core Liberal value. We are here for all the students, because working on the weekend while you are studying is important for many who are studying to improve their position. And that is a core Liberal value. And we are here for all the shift workers who are working so hard to get ahead, often at two jobs. Working hard to better yourself is a core Liberal value. We are here for all those who are simply trying to raise a family, get a job and get ahead. We support anyone in those positions. We will work for everybody in those positions. We will protect everybody in those positions. That is why we will not cut penalty rates.
However, I make the point that penalty rates are only part of the picture for hardworking, low paid families. We must understand that. There are many other ways that governments can affect the lives of low paid workers, and we cannot discuss the importance of protecting lower paid workers without discussing those other matters. When we are talking about fairness and rights and conditions, let us not let the rhetoric get in the way of the reality, because this is a government intent on taking every spare cent from the very same workers that we are discussing.
So I say to this government, “If you want to protect low paid workers, stop the cash grabs, stop the massive rate increases that are hurting so many low paid workers, stop the cash grab through increased fees and charges.” For so many workers, retail workers, hospitality workers, other workers across this city, every cent counts. I think that when Mr Barr talked about the late night parking simply being the difference between sparkling water and still water when you are having a $100 dinner out just showed how far the Chief Minister and this government are now from understanding the impact on low paid workers of fees and charges across this city. Stop the cash grab through all of the taxes.
It is a cash grab when you look at the amount that is being taken in increased revenue from all of the fees and charges. In the budget papers this year, the total rates revenue in the forward estimates is nearly $554 million. That is just a massive increase.
Ms Burch: I take a point of order on relevance to the matter of public importance, which is around maintaining penalty rates for low paid workers in Canberra. I do not think it has anything to do with what was in this year’s budget.
MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Thank you, Ms Burch.
MR HANSON: Madam Assistant Speaker, on the point of order, when Ms Burch spoke—she made a fairly broad-ranging speech—she talked about the difficulty that low paid workers face, some of the challenges facing them. She was reasonably broad