Page 2336 - Week 07 - Thursday, 4 August 2016

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Elsewhere in the same paper there is a letter from a Campbell resident who writes that his rates had increased by 14.9 per cent last year when his superannuation income, which is indexed according to CPI, has increased by 1.3 per cent. As the letter writer says:

This brings to mind the words of Marcellus in Hamlet—‘Something is rotten in the state of Denmark’.

There can be no better example, among a rich field of examples of this government’s wasteful ways, of what they have done with rates. In the 2012 election the Canberra Liberals warned Canberrans that their rates would triple. Mr Barr, as Treasurer, led a tirade of abuse suggesting we were scaremongering and that there was no suggestion that this would happen. Tell that to the residents of Pialligo, who have seen their rates jump by a massive 174 per cent in just four years.

If we go through the suburbs in my electorate of Kurrajong, no-one has been spared. Let me list how rates have increased in each of these suburbs in the past four years: Pialligo, 173.9 per cent; Campbell, 77.5 per cent; Red Hill, 74.4 per cent; Yarralumla, 70.9 per cent; Reid, 70.5 per cent; Ainslie, 69 per cent; Downer, 67.8 per cent; Hackett, 65 per cent; Forrest, 64.5 per cent; O’Connor, 64.3 per cent; Deakin 64 per cent; Oaks Estate, 63.9 per cent; Griffith, 57.5 per cent; Turner, 55.6 per cent; Narrabundah, 55.5 per cent; Dickson, 55.4 per cent; Watson, 50 per cent; city, 40 per  cent; Lyneham, 39.2 per cent; Braddon, 38 per cent; Barton, 37 per cent; and Kingston, 30 per cent.

The average increase across my electorate is 63 per cent. Next year, if the Labor Party is returned, suburbs like Kingston, Barton, Acton and Braddon, with a high percentage of apartments, will see their rates soar because apartment owners have been hit in the current budget. This will, of course, lead to higher rental costs and push up costs all the way throughout the ACT economy.

But it is not only the suburbs in my electorate that have been savaged. This government has not played favourites. Every suburb has had rates rise at levels well above CPI. Why? And why are drivers licences going up by five per cent and parking up by five per cent when the average increase in wages across the public and private sectors in the ACT is around the CPI?

Those paying land tax had their base charges lifted by $100 in this year’s budget and next year they will take an even bigger hit. According to the current budget, land tax revenue next financial year is expected to be $16.5 million and over the next four years the Labor government is planning to collect $55 million just in land taxes. One could argue that not everyone is in a position to be required to pay land tax. But a very, very large percentage of the community have a drivers licence. So why have licences gone up by five per cent and parking fees also by five per cent when CPI is around 1.3 per cent and wage rises are mostly tied to CPI? As the Campbell resident said, on the one hand his rates went up by 14.9 per cent this year while his superannuation income rose by only CPI. There is something rotten in the ACT and it is this government that continues to milk Canberra residents dry. No-one in Canberra is exempt from the savagery.

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