New Budget, new Treasurer

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Chief Minister Katy Gallagher says an increase in rates is "a standard practice"
Chief Minister Katy Gallagher says an increase in rates is "a standard practice"

A NEW financial year and a new treasurer: today marks the first day of the ACT Government 2011-2012 Budget under the reigns of new treasurer Labor MLA Andrew Barr.

However, Leader of the Opposition Zed Seselja has said Canberra households have woken to higher costs across the board as Labor squeezes the family budget even more.

According to a Budget snapshot, Canberra will see increased costs in: water 14.7 per cent, electricity 6.4 per cent, rates 8 per cent, groceries 16 per cent and childcare 11 per cent.

Yesterday also saw the signing of $21m in additional funding to government agencies. This includes: health–hospital cost pressures $7 million; health–2010 bonus payments $2.866 million; Canberra Institute of Technology $2.6 million and Justice-workers’ compensation premiums $1.7 million.

However, in yesterday’s Question Time, Chief Minister and former treasurer Katy Gallagher said the Government believes the increase in was appropriate and a standard practice in government budgets.

“How we levy rates is linked to the value of land, as land increases in value, you will see increases in rates,” Gallagher said. “The decision of the Government this year is to not include any new rates or any new taxes in the Budget. There’s increases within indexation across our fees and charges, but we think that is appropriate, which is standard practice in budgets.”

Gallagher said the Budget includes $21m worth of assistance to lower income families and individuals doing it tough in the community. She also said 25000 households in Canberra will receive $131 utilities concession plus a $17m investment into government housing.

“I think it’s the responsibility of government, when putting budgets together, to make sure the needs of those who need it are taken into consideration,” she said.

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