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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 23 August 2018) . . Page.. 3578 ..

shows total ACT government revenue reaching more than $7 billion. Much of this comes from the payment of rates, which causes more and more pain with each passing year of this government’s so-called tax reform.

Over the past seven years, the average rates bill increase in my electorate of Ginninderra has reached 106 per cent. Some suburbs have been especially hard hit. Unit owners in Belconnen, for example, have seen their average rates bills soar 147 per cent. The data is clear: rates in 17 of the 20 suburbs across my electorate have doubled since 2011-12.

This does not, of course, mean that the residents of Ginninderra are opposed to taxation. I think we all understand that government services require funding. And the good people of Canberra who speak to me assure me that they are happy to pay their fair share of taxes, including rates. No; the problem comes when tax bills go up and up and up with no notable improvement in government services. In fact, in many cases the provision of basic services has not only not kept pace with the growth in tax revenue, it has not even kept pace with the growth in population.

We have a public hospital that tells a terrified mother in labour that there is no bed for her but that she is welcome to wait in the tearoom along with everyone else. We also have front-line crisis service providers that are unreachable at certain times of the day and others that are forced to turn away clients who have nowhere else to go.

As noted succinctly by former Labor Chief Minister John Stanhope in last week’s CityNews, despite the fact that the ACT government has become adept at taking more and more money from the pockets of Canberra’s families, this year’s budget includes “a cut of 0.6 per cent (compounding) for Social Protection, and effective cuts to Housing and Community Services and to Health in relation to both of which the agreed growth in funding is less than inflation”. In the simplest terms, what this means is that ordinary Canberrans are paying more for less. This is the governmental equivalent of working harder for less pay.

I know my neighbours and many of the good people across my electorate. They are honest, decent, hardworking people who love their families, contribute to their communities and expect this government to give them, and all other Canberrans, a fair go. I feel justifiably indignant that in the next few days these people will be opening rates notices that will leave many of them wondering how to make ends meet and confused about how a government that takes so much can do so little with it.

Garran Primary School—science fair

MS CODY (Murrumbidgee) (4.43): Last week I had the absolute honour and privilege of opening the Garran science fair at Garran Primary School. I was lucky enough to meet with many of the children who had put in their science projects. It is a fair that has been operating for many years at Garran Primary School. It continues to give the children an opportunity to grow and work particularly amongst the STEM subjects within the school.

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