Barr breaks promise on property rates, say Libs

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ACT opposition leader Elizabeth Lee

IT IS not just the rich that have been slugged with a rates increase that the Canberra Liberals have slammed from the sidelines.

The ACT opposition committed to freezing rates for homeowners at last year’s election that Labor counteracted with a promise to restrict the number of properties targeted to the top end of town.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr vowed that only around 2300 properties would be affected by a significant 5.8 per cent increase that were valued at more than $2 million.

It would have left less than 16,000 households forking out an anticipated increase of between one and five per cent rise in house rates.

That figure has since blown up to 34,000 properties being slugged, while a further 24,000 low-income families, who thought their rates would remain unchanged in the 2020-21 financial year, now face a rise of up to one per cent.

“Despite Labor and the Greens’ clear commitments before the election that there would be a rates freeze, and thousands of personal letters from Mr Barr during the election campaign to Canberrans claiming there was no rates increase, it has been today confirmed that 60,295 households have been slapped with a rates increase this year,” Liberal leader Elizabeth Lee said.

The figure was more than three times the number of Canberra homeowners than the ACT government initially promised would be affected.

Mr Barr had said in June before the election that rates would not increase for the majority of households.

The Liberals bit back saying they would campaign for a fairer rates system.

“It’s been less than 100 days since the election and this is just the latest broken promise from Labor and the Greens,” Ms Lee said.

“Hospital upgrades are delayed, stage two of light rail is behind, we’re told major infrastructure commitments may not proceed and now households are being directly hit by further rates increases.

“A rates hike for over 60,000 households is radically more than was disclosed before the election.”

The Labor-Greens coalition have maintained publicly that rates’ figures have remained consistent.

It will hand out $150 rebates to ensure rates would fall for about 110,000 properties, but none of them in the ACT have remained the same as 2019-20.

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