Page 2656 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 15 August 2017

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the rent tax—that is, land tax—is up 18 per cent. Commercial rates are up five per cent and residential rates are up 12 per cent. And that is, of course, a general figure. In many instances they are considerably more.

Not only that but also we have stamp duty revenue bringing in $300 million in this budget. Isn’t it great when you can abolish a tax but it still brings in $300 million? It is not a rosy picture for so many people in Canberra. It is no wonder so many people from Canberra are choosing to live across the border. The high cost of maintaining a home in Canberra is driving people across the border. The Queanbeyan City Council is responding. It is providing a far better product. How is it that land can come to market in Queanbeyan with gas, with water, with electricity and with the NBN for a fraction of the price here in the ACT, where the government is pretty much the sole supplier of land?

There are so many other fees and charges that have gone up astronomically under this government, and numerous others that have been increased in recent years or introduced in recent years as well. We have heard an increasing number of stories from constituents about the changes to concessions and the government’s decision to roll numerous concessions and rebates into one single utilities concession. It was not well thought out. That was established in estimates with regard to people who do not necessarily have an electricity bill that is comparable to the concessions but who do have very high gas bills or water bills, to which the concession would be better applied.

We have also learned in the past few days that homeowners will pay an average of $27 per year in water and sewerage charges under a new proposal by Icon Water which will see the per kilolitre rate increase beyond 2018. It keeps on going. Every single aspect is touched by increases under this government. (Second speaking period taken.)

The increases that we have to water and sewerage pricing are in part because of the outrageous agreement that Icon Water came to with ActewAGL. That agreement alone is putting in excess of $150 onto the annual water bill for every Canberra household. That is if you assume that the shared services are worth $5 million. It is quite possible that the shared services are worth considerably less than that. If you assume that the shared services are worth $5 million, why is it that this government signed an agreement to pay $30 million per year for this very dodgy deal? It is no wonder that water prices have gone up so much, when you have that level of negligence attached to decision making at Icon Water.

This money-hungry government will continue to do whatever it can to gouge Canberrans. The Chief Minister will do whatever he can to distract from the real issues affecting Canberrans. In conclusion, I urge the Chief Minister to respond to my earlier claim that this government should not use the Mr Fluffy sales as the new basis for unimproved values across the ACT. If they do, we will see massive increases to rates right across the territory, which will, I think, push many Canberra households to the brink.

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