Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 10 May 2018) . . Page.. 1744 ..
It is very important that, as elected members of this place, when we are asked to further support the will of the community and sit on committees to do important work, we look at what the community believes is important work. The inquiry looking at the methodology for rates on units is a very important inquiry. To be having to stand here and agree to extend the time frame to the last sitting day in September because members of the committee refuse to make themselves available to meet is extremely disturbing and upsetting. I have said that, and I will continue to say that.
The Leader of the Opposition stood in this place on 15 February and explained how important this was to the community and to the people of Canberra, and that we as a government were trying to avoid it. Yet I and my fellow member of the committee Mr Pettersson have asked on several occasions for us to continue to meet so that we can continue to do this important work. I was informed this morning that we have not met for five weeks. Five whole weeks! We have been trying to have a meeting to discuss this important matter, to have a meeting to make sure the people of Canberra are heard, to have a meeting to find out whether the people of Canberra really do have a problem with the methodology behind determining rates for units.
I find it very difficult to have to stand in this place to argue about the fact that we are having to extend a reporting date for an inquiry that we were told by the Leader of the Opposition we were trying to stop when we could not meet to continue to do the important work. I would like to remind members that this week, on 8 May, Mr Coe stood here and said:
This is just another instance of this arrogant Labor-Greens government trying to avoid scrutiny on major policies and issues. The Treasurer has not provided any compelling evidence to back up his claims that this will help the housing and rental affordability crisis faced by so many Canberrans.
Where is he? Why has he not made himself available to meet to continue the important work of this inquiry?
I understand that last month Mr Coe stood in front of the media and announced that there were 19 submissions—19 submissions—that had not quite made it to the public accounts committee inbox.
This committee has not been able to meet to discuss what we will do. This committee has not been able to continue the important work. We have not even set up a meeting schedule for who we might call as witnesses when we do hold public hearings into this matter.
It is with a very heavy heart that I am standing here today to bring this matter to the attention of the Assembly. I note that, on moving the motion to inquire into such things, Mr Coe stated on 15 February:
At its core, the government’s rates and land tax regime is unfair. This is a government that is desperately trying to squeeze Canberrans for all they are worth. In particular, with regard to apartments and units across Canberra, the government has had a massive push, trying to drive people into these apartments.