Page 4326 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 25 October 2017

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Mr Hanson: What is your position on the casino?

MR BARR: Yes, the government has changed its position. You guys have just gone and flipped and taken the exact opposite. In 2013 you were asking questions in this place about why the casino did not have poker machines and how unfair that was. That had been the Liberal Party policy position up until you were bought off by ClubsACT.

Taxation—impact of reform

MRS JONES: Madam Speaker, my question is for the Treasurer: I refer to an article by former Chief Minister Jon Stanhope in the City News of 19 October. He stated that any analysis of data on the cost of living and trends in household disposable income will show just how much stress households in the bottom income quintiles are suffering. Treasurer, what contributions are ACT government policies making to the income stress suffered by households in the bottom income quartile?

MR BARR: The government recently reformed our concessions program in order to deliver more concessions and benefits to that bottom income quintile. That income quintile is not in homeownership predominantly and are overwhelmingly in the public housing system or in private rental. The housing needs of the majority of those in the bottom quintile are met by public housing. The government, in changing our concessions scheme to deliver a greater level of concession to those in the rental market, particularly the private rental market, has, in fact, assisted those most disadvantaged.

We continue to provide additional supports and concessions right across the suite of ACT government service provision. Of course, there is an interaction between state and territory governments and the commonwealth government in relation to income support for the lowest income quartile in our community. It is, of course, always pleasing to see when there are increases to, for example, pensions and welfare payments. It would seem that the colleagues of those opposite are being particularly tough on welfare recipients and pensioners in their budgetary policy, including some of the most extraordinary interventions in relation to income management and questions of drug testing as well.

MRS JONES: What analysis does ACT Treasury do on the impact of government tax policies on lower income households and, in particular, those trying to own homes?

MR BARR: I refer the member, firstly, to the concessions review undertaken last year, and also to the ACT taxation review and the five-yearly update in relation to the taxation review that goes to the heart of her question. But also be very clear: in any context, any rational assessment of public policy positions, both in the territory and nationally, shows that, if you want to ensure that low income people are supported in our community, you must have progressive governments in office.

MR COE: Chief Minister and Treasurer, will you table all the Treasury analysis of the distributional impacts of the taxation measures that you have introduced as Treasurer?

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