Page 3519 - Week 09 - Thursday, 23 August 2018

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commissioner, given some of her own commentary around the budget. The week the budget was announced Ms Cheyne made claims on social media that, “Stamp duty is reducing while rates are increasing. It is not an increase in tax overall.”

Unlike my social media comments, this statement from Ms Cheyne is factually inaccurate. The ACT government’s own source tax revenue has been growing at a rate of 8.2 per cent annum since 2012-13. Rates revenue has doubled in the past five years and tripled since 2012. Over the past 12 months, the ACT government has collected almost $80 million more in stamp duty than it did in 2012. The numbers do not lie and there is no way to spin it. This is an increase in tax overall.

Ms Cheyne: Point of order.

MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Cheyne, point of order?

Ms Cheyne: Relevance; this was about budget funding for buses and honesty—

MISS C BURCH: It is about misleading comments on Facebook.

Ms Cheyne: and the Commissioner for Standards’ report. There was nothing about rates.

MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Thank you, Ms Cheyne. I believe there is no point of order. Miss Burch.

MISS C BURCH: I go back to the post that we are talking about here, which said:

This budget saw rates, fees and charges continue to rise, yet Canberrans just aren’t receiving the basic local services that we deserve.

So I think the increase in rates and taxes is entirely relevant to this debate. I also find it ironic that Ms Cheyne in her adjournment speech on 7 June quoted to me the importance of freedom of speech and honesty, as she has done again today, sitting behind the Chief Minister who actively and publicly has shown his disdain for anybody holding him to account. I refer the Assembly to a Canberra Times article written on 11 March entitled, “I hate journalists and I am over the mainstream media.” And another in the Australian dated 15 March entitled, “The ACT Chief Minister Barr reigns in an unaccountable utopia.” These articles, and Ms Cheyne’s behaviour, speak to a larger problem with this government, and that is one of transparency.

This government hates to be held to account and will stop at nothing to prevent dissenting views from being heard or shared both in this place and around Canberra. This government loves to act without recourse and blindly refuses to listen to what the people of Canberra want and need.

Ms Cheyne accused me of restricting information. Yet in what seems to be another example of her growing fondness for hypocrisy, she supports a minister who has run a disingenuous consultation process on the proposed new bus network during which she has refused to provide all the necessary information, such as timetabling information,

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