Are you prepared to pay?

housebound 20 August 2009 26

In its own little test of the validity of willingenss-to-pay theory, our illustrious leader has decided to introduce a voluntary gold coin donation for entry into the ACT Parks and Conservation estate. The idea is that it will reign in TaMS’ mult-mullion dollar overspend.

The only problem is that Australians, and people in general, are usually unwilling to pay. Witness the low rates of payment for voluntary school fees at public schools as an example. I expect no better on this scheme, and that’s assuming no one raids the locked boxes for parking money.

Our leader is also not too hopeful about the prospects of this scheme succeeding, but he seems to think it is worth a go. Full marks for trying, at least.

There’s no ACT Government press release yet, but here’s the ABC story.

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26 Responses to Are you prepared to pay?
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Rawhide Kid No 2 Rawhide Kid No 2 10:48 am 22 Aug 09

Pandy said :

I think Stanhope should be talking to the Canberra Bushwalkers and National Parks Association about this.

What??? Consult???

Pandy Pandy 7:01 pm 21 Aug 09

Stanhope is confused. There is already a permit system for camping overnight in the park and the use of particular camp sites.

Many walkers beat make their own tracks and do not use any particular fire trail. They might park at a designated spot and then venture out from there. But there is no trail managed by the rangers as such, just a rut in the grass at best.

I also hear he has modelled the concept on the great walks in NZ and says he will place donation boxes at the beginiing and the end of the trail. But Stanhope, the parks in NZ are free and you pay a permit to camp and use the huts overnight.

Frankly the cost to collect the money each night will far outstrip what is raked in.

Plus what guarantee is there that the money collected will be used to fix/clear/create walking tracks?

I think Stanhope should be talking to the Canberra Bushwalkers and National Parks Association about this.

Whatsup Whatsup 6:42 pm 21 Aug 09

Could be a good concept but…

How long will it be before the knuckleheads break in to the boxes ?
Will the overhead of emptying out the boxes on a regular basis be covered by the income ?

monomania monomania 5:18 pm 21 Aug 09

The community subsidises many activities that the majority of people do not participate in. Varoius sports, cultural events and arts are some examples. Bushwalking and enjoying nature reserves are no different. I support a sensible compulsory co-payment that all who want to participate can afford and can be easily collected. This is not one of these instances.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 4:42 pm 21 Aug 09

Overheard said :

You’d be surprised how much you can raise from a gold coin donation policy. Talk to a few places that do it. It’s a different beast to voluntary school fees. Altogether.

Have a word to the mob that collect 20c from the markets at Jammo on Sundays. Rotary? I know on the few times I went through, I threw in much more than 20c.

But god love us, we’re all different, and there is a selection of the community that read ‘voluntary donation’ to mean ‘free’. And sometimes, they don’t have the wherewithal to make that donation. If they really want to attend/be involved/etc. I’d much rather welcome those people in rather than turn them away for the sake of a buck.

Interesting perspective.

When I was a kid, we used to be ‘asked’ to take books of raffle tickets to sell as fund raising for the school. I was usually the only kid who requested NOT to take tickets. Why? Well, my family wasn’t very well off, and my mother felt guilty about asking friends and neighbours to buy tickets (we lived in a poorer part of town when I was young), and therefore bought them herself, just to get rid of them. I knew we weren’t well off, and so I felt guilty taking the tickets knowing my family would have to buy them.

Despite growing up to be financially comfortable, I still feel a bit strange when I see kids with raffle tickets, and remember the old feelings. As far as ‘voluntary contributions’ go, my first reaction is still ‘hell no’, and I have to think for a minute to say ‘yes’.

LG LG 4:30 pm 21 Aug 09

Quick question (and related to the topic) – where’s the best picnic spot in Namadgi?

haroldbeagle haroldbeagle 1:51 pm 21 Aug 09

Getting somewhat back on topic.

Many, many years ago (pre-self Govt.), all the BBQs that you find in various parks and places around town used to be coin operated (20 cents iirc). But of course these were frequently damaged and destroyed by folk attempting to retrieve those princely sums. Then someone realised that the cost of repairing the frequently damaged mechanisms far outweighed the amounts collected. And in a fit of competence not often seen in govt, decided it was better to simply make them free.

I suspect that if this plan proceeds, then like the newly reintroduced fees at Tidbinbilla, the cost of collection will be greater than the fees collected.

GB GB 1:43 pm 21 Aug 09

Punkarella: they are tax analyses to answer questions about relative levels of taxation as proportions of, for example, GDP or of average wages.

This might give you more info.

They do not address comparative wealth, comparative cost of living, total cost of government, efficiency of government services, efficiency of private services, etc.

Is there a particular question you had in mind?

With parks, I think a combination of public and private income is right. The existence of parks and reserves achieves a lot of things for society as a whole, independent of whether any particular individual visits them. But some kinds of visitation infrastructure — eg roads, bushwalking tracks in highly sensitive areas — are expenses which exist only because a relative few use them. They should contribute some direct costs back.

So, for example, I think a fee to walk the popular and maintained tracks in Tasmania is valid; as is a fee to meet some of the costs of maintaining ski infrastructure and habitat protection in the snowies.

But the general utility of having parks, and having them looked after, should come from my taxes along with everyone else’s.

I’d put my dollar in the tin at the trailhead.

Overheard Overheard 1:18 pm 21 Aug 09

You’d be surprised how much you can raise from a gold coin donation policy. Talk to a few places that do it. It’s a different beast to voluntary school fees. Altogether.

Have a word to the mob that collect 20c from the markets at Jammo on Sundays. Rotary? I know on the few times I went through, I threw in much more than 20c.

But god love us, we’re all different, and there is a selection of the community that read ‘voluntary donation’ to mean ‘free’. And sometimes, they don’t have the wherewithal to make that donation. If they really want to attend/be involved/etc. I’d much rather welcome those people in rather than turn them away for the sake of a buck.

punkarella punkarella 11:47 am 21 Aug 09

Do they factor local government taxes as well into those reports, things like rates average price of water and power…?
What about average cost of fuel and basic food stuffs oh and interest rates, wage comparisions, cost of living and all that?

GB GB 9:27 am 21 Aug 09

georgesgenitals said :

Hoe many western countries tax higher, when you consider income tax, GST, excise and other taxes?

Well, it depends exactly how you define ‘high taxing’; but for example in this OECD report, that’s us down there just below the USA.

Or, looking at total tax revenue vs GDP, we are a bit higher than the US, but lower than most of Europe.

Of course, this is a completely separate argument to whether high taxes are good, bad or indifferent. And to what should be paid for from them, which should be ‘user pays’, etc.

Pommy bastard Pommy bastard 9:23 am 21 Aug 09

georgesgenitals said :

Hoe many western countries tax higher, when you consider income tax, GST, excise and other taxes?

Most have a higher tax burden;

http://comparativetaxation.treasury.gov.au/content/report/images/05_Chapter_3-32.gif

Jerry Atric Jerry Atric 9:11 am 21 Aug 09

Jivrashia said :

Only a gold coin??

Has anyone been up Mt. Tennent and noticed how well the tracks are maintained? Some of the staircases, built using surrounding rocks and the natural contour of the outcrop rocks, are a work of art!

Has anyone been on the walking track around Mt Rogers recently? This “Park” serves 5 adjacent suburbs and many more a little further away. There is an active group that collects rubbish and removes pest plants. But using the track itself qualifies as an extreme sport.

To the best of my knowledge there has been NO maintenance for 30 years (yes,30). Where has the TAMS overspend gone?

Yes, I don’t mind paying but I think we are entitled to see what it is used for.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 9:09 am 21 Aug 09

Some googling would indicate that Australia is middle of the road when it comes to taxes.

peterh peterh 9:05 am 21 Aug 09

georgesgenitals said :

Hoe many western countries tax higher, when you consider income tax, GST, excise and other taxes?

the Uk, New Zealand, The US, oh, I don’t know, most of the EU?

UK has VAT, NZ has 12% GST. I would rather our model of taxes / gst etc, thanks. Gold Coin Donation is just the start. Once we are used to it, then we would see another option, park passes introduced. nothing wrong with it, i bet there a few people who pay the park passes at the snow without worrying.

Panhead Panhead 8:14 am 21 Aug 09

I did an assignment at school earlier this year and found some interesting data on taxation burden for OECD countries. Using the measure of total taxation as a proportion of GDP, compared to other OECD countries Australia is one of the lowest taxing countries in the developed world and this has been the case for the last 40 years or so.

GregW GregW 8:12 am 21 Aug 09

Australia is undeniably a high taxing country, however that is not to say there aren’t many other countries who also tax heavily.

See: http://www.oecd.org/vgn/images/portal/cit_731/4/43/38148468Table%20O_2.jpg

As georgesgenitals said, I already pay a significant amount of my income to the government so I don’t feel any responsibility to further contribute. If the budget was in deficit I may support tax increases (to every citizen) but still wouldn’t feel the need to donate to the government if they elected not to do so.

georgesgenitals georgesgenitals 7:43 am 21 Aug 09

Hoe many western countries tax higher, when you consider income tax, GST, excise and other taxes?

GB GB 10:44 pm 20 Aug 09

georgesgenitals said :

We live in a high taxing country, .

Hilarious disinformation.

We don’t.

housebound housebound 9:41 pm 20 Aug 09

I’ve seen figures as low as 30% at more than a few public schools – but that was a couple of years ago – probably a media report from when the ‘voluntary contributions’ tiff hit the media. Well done at your schools for hitting the 100% mark.

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