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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 August 2016) . . Page.. 2516 ..

scares most residents of Tuggeranong. They say the only way they can afford it is if their rates continue to increase in the fashion that they have. Most families are more concerned about the fundamental bill that comes in every quarter, and that is, their residential rates.

Whilst the Treasurer continues to insist that it is a progressive change, that it is fair and that it is just, he fails to recognise the impact that that has on the average working family. It might be evidence of too much time spent in government, too much time spent as a minister and not enough time spent with the average workers of Canberra. We have seen 10, 12 and sometimes 14 per cent increases in residential rates that have burdened families. And this year he has the hubris to say, “It is only four per cent this year because there is an election, but don’t worry, the pressure will be back on next year and we’ll be coming after you.” If you live in a unit title property, it will be 20 per cent this year. But the government says, “You get the double act because we’ll be coming back for another 20 next year.” What does that say not just about the cost of living for owner-occupiers but, even more concerning, the cost of housing affordability for those who are struggling most to make ends meet?

Inevitably, a cost that is put onto a landlord is a cost that will be passed on to a tenant. Increases in land tax, increases in rates and increases in unit charges all get passed on to the end user. Then you compare that to the commercial side of things. As I described in this place last week, commercial properties are paying almost 10 times the rates when compared to an equivalent residential property. Your dress circle address in Forrest is paying $8,000 in rates, but your simple basic warehouse in Fyshwick is paying almost $80,000—10 times.

There is no greater drag on the ACT economy and no bigger inhibitor to jobs growth in this economy than the Treasurer and Chief Minister. In just a matter of days, in just under 10 weeks, Canberrans have a real opportunity to change the government, to change the direction. Come this time next year, we may well be debating the positives of a new Liberal government’s budget.

MS FITZHARRIS (Molonglo—Minister for Higher Education, Training and Research, Minister for Transport Canberra and City Services and Assistant Minister for Health) (5.15): I am very pleased to speak on this budget item this afternoon and to detail how this government is supporting our higher education and training sector to diversify our economy, drive the jobs of the future and make Canberra the research capital of Australia. These will be based on jobs built around our knowledge and ingenuity.

The ACT is uniquely placed as a knowledge economy, with over half a dozen tertiary education providers basing themselves in our city. We are the education capital and I am proud that this ACT government has a long history of proactive engagement with Canberra’s education and research sector.

This sector is nationally and internationally recognised and provides opportunities across a range of specialisations as well as attracting high quality national and international talent in our student and staff bodies. We educate 44,000 post-secondary students each year, including 12,000 international students and a similar number of

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