Letters / Rolfe is right on rate rises

DAVID Rolfe is completely right (“Rising rates park misery on Melrose Drive” CN, October 11), no business should see these massive cost increases with nothing to show for it; we are certainly not getting better government services.

These types of rate increases are driven by the current government’s determination to extract every dollar out of property owners that they can. They are happy to throw out the long-established unimproved capital value that has been the bedrock of land taxes and rates because the increases are not rapid enough for them.

This government uses the excuse of getting rid of stamp duty and hiking rates as a methodology to replace stamp duty with a promise of no net tax gain for the government. The blatant lie is exposed in the latest ACT accounts, stamp duty revenue has actually increased despite the promise to get rid of it. Rates in the forward estimates have increased by over 650 per cent so we get shafted with both rates and stamp duty. This chief minister can’t add up or at least thinks that ACT ratepayers can’t. His stock answer is that every tax review in the country over the last 20 years has applauded the economic wisdom of what the ACT is doing. But how come we are the only jurisdiction in Australia to actually do this madness?

How about Mr Barr running a business and learning first hand how difficult it is to cope with raging tax increases that cannot be passed on and completely disregard any relationship to profit? Socialism at its best.

Gary Green, via citynews.com.au

CORRECTION: In his opinion piece, David Rolfe reports that he probably overestimated next year’s rate rise, which on a revised number, gives him an expected rate rise over three years of 92 per cent, not the 100 per cent he had originally guesstimated.

Islanders can’t afford self rule

I AGREE with columnist Jon Stanhope (“The hypocritical tale of two territories”, CN, October 7) that the lack of consultation with the people of Norfolk Island was very unfair, but I would like to add the following.

My husband and I spent a holiday on Norfolk Island, during which we talked to a lot of the locals. What a lovely proud people they are; proud of their heritage and their beautiful island and loyal to the Queen. However, all the people we spoke to said while they didn’t want to be governed by Australia and would like to stay under self-rule, they had to be realistic – they could not afford it.

The roads need a lot of repair (potholes basically everywhere) and yes, the health system and schooling need help. There are no major shops and residents have to travel to NZ or Australia for major shopping and health care (particularly giving birth), which does get expensive.

My concern is that under Australian rule they will be caught up in all the bureaucracy of the government and the island will lose its charm and uniqueness, and this will be a great shame.

Vi Evans via email

The cost of deception

WITH an immigration background, I am a staunch supporter of our border policies, but one area is a waste of taxpayers’ money. Daily we see transparent attempts by arrivals to deceive customs/immigration/quarantine officials. Thousands in any year consciously make false statements on their inwards passenger card either in English or their own language – most frequently about food and drugs.

I believe we have all seen a compliance officer ask why they did not disclose numerous large packages containing food, with some giving the incredible answer “But it’s not food”.

Then can follow up to two hours of verbal interchange, ending with the arrival finally agreeing that if he puts it in his mouth, it’s food!

Even longer hours are wasted by those claiming, without proof, they have a job – or no, I am not here to work – when they have only $100 in their pocket for a three-month stay! A tiny minority are fined an unbelievable pittance of $110 or $210 which doesn’t even cover the salary costs of all border officials involved. Time for a review!

Colliss Parrett, Barton

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