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Canberra’s politicians: Bigger government at all costs

By Steven Bailey - 13 January 2015 37

legislative-assembly

Canberra’s politicians have been working hard to expand the ACT Legislative Assembly.

Last year we saw a barrage of announcements leading towards the expansion of the Assembly from three electorates with a total of 17 seats to five electorates with a total of 25 seats which will take effect from the October 2016 election.

The expansion required the support of the Canberra Liberals who voted as a party to back the Labor proposition. The expansion of the Legislative Assembly will cost over $9 million in additional wages, which takes into consideration the additional increases announced by the Chief Minister recently.

It is unknown at this point where all of these new politicians will be stationed as the Legislative Assembly is quite a small place. Whether the new MLAs will be based in new offices outside of the existing Legislative Assembly or whether the existing building will be reconstructed is unknown. What we do know is that it’s going to cost a lot of money – a lot of our money.

On top of a six per cent pay increase and an increase in staff levels introduced last year by former Chief Minister Katy Gallagher, Chief Minister Andrew Barr recently announced an additional increase to MLA staffing levels. In his office, he has reinstated the role of Executive Chief of Staff which will attract a salary of $250,000.

Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Hanson will receive an extra $108,000 while Labor and Liberal backbenches will receive an extra $70,000 for either additional staff or additional staff wages (the staff allowance is spent at the MLA’s discretion).

Additionally, the ACT Government will increase public funding for ACT elections, effective from 2016, from $2 per vote to $8 per vote. That means your vote for a major party will put $8 into the pockets of the major parties – this is an unprecedented increase.

Cost increases to ACT taxpayers have been introduced carefully and in a staged manner, and we will see further increases announced this year. My question is whether Labor has made the case for an expansion of government and an increase in costs, or if  they have chosen not to make the case simply because they have the support of the Canberra Liberals and there’s nothing that anyone can do about it?

My second question is why the hell are the Canberra Liberals supporting a bigger government? It is a doctrine of liberalism to support smaller Government. The only conclusion is that the modern Liberal party couldn’t be further from the true ideals of liberalism if it tried. My fear is that the Canberra Liberals don’t even understand the word ‘liberalism’, and don’t care either. The unhealthy reality for democracy in Australia’s capital is that Canberra has no credible and truly liberal opposition. We should be the exemplar of a healthy and vibrant democracy… but we are not.

In regards to the 2016 election, many independents and small parties are rubbing their hands with glee in the hope that a larger Assembly will increase their chances of winning a seat. It won’t; it will be harder for them to win a seat. The five-electorate/five-seat arrangement and the additional public monies flowing to the major parties only serve to solidify their grip on power, stifling a fairer and more diverse representation for the people of the ACT.

A federal MP once asked me, “Steve, if you have one party and one policy what do you call that?”

“A dictatorship,” I answered.

“If you have two parties and one policy, what do you call that?”

“A dictatorship,” I answered.

 

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Canberra’s politicians: Bigger government at all costs
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dungfungus 11:33 pm 18 Jan 15

rommeldog56 said :

dungfungus said :

rommeldog56 said :

JC said :

rommeldog56 said :

Oh comne on – give us a break !

Yes – wastage exists at State Gov’t level too. But the revenue base that States enjoy from both Ratepayers and commercial activity, is huge compared to the ACTs revenue base and number of Ratepayers.

Ergo, given the terrible current state of the ACT budget, Ratepayers money must be spent/invested wisely by the ACT Gov’t. The QLD, NSW, WA and Vic State Gov’t can afford light rail/trams and the layers of Govt they have.


To say that the Council fees in these places are high than the rapidly rising ACTs Annual Rates is not correct.

Firstly states do not receive money from ratepayers, rates go to the councils.

Secondly states get funding from GST, specific deferal funding (hospitals and schooling) and state based taxes, such as stamp duty etc which was meant to have been done away with.

As we know the GST is collected by the commonwealth and distributed to states and territories, not based on where the GST was collected but based on where the commonwealth believes the funding should be directed to take into account the differing income base of the state.

Hence states such as WA receive less than they collect and the ACT more than they collect.

This a long way to balance out you point about revenue raising capacity.

But municipal services seem to be the main gripe in the last few posts, clearly in states this is provided by councils, who’s sole revenue source is rates and council charges. Whilst I do freely agree municipal services have dropped, I do not buy the argument it has dropped lower the rest of the country. We have come down to the same as the rest of the country, because that is where the sensible balance between cost and delivery is met. Some may not like it, but it is a reality.

I get that – and the ACT Gov’t gets both Annual Rates and GST.

But that does not excuse the run down of municiple services against the tripling of Annual Rates. The ACT Gov’t was also supposed to do away with Stamp Duty when the GST came in – but like all States/Territories, did not. Instead, it chose to slug ACT Ratepayers by up to 10% pa rise in Annual Rates pa for 20 years to do that, including hitting up again those who had already paid full stamp duty on purchase on a house. Sounds fair to me.

The “reality”. I’m afraid the reality is what ACT voters and Ratepayers let the ACt Gov’t get away with. they are onviously a pretty apathetic/passive lot. So, on that point, I agree that it is “reality”. What irks me is that the $ for municiple services are being spent on things the ACT can not afford and will no doubt create more budget debt into the future.

The “main gripe’ is about the ACT Gov’t overspending and wasting Ratepayers money now and stuffing up the future. The degredation in municipal services is just a symptom of that and can not be excused.

The ACT Government appears close to financial collapse.
Details of another damning audit report on stuff-ups with Calvary Hospital in the CT today.
If it were a council, the state government would have an administrator in already.
Which Federal government agency will assume responsibility for sorting out the mess?

That won’t happen.

Because the ACT is a combination of State & Council functions, I dont know how an administrator can be appointed – if just a Council, then the State Gov’t can sack them and appoiont an administrator. Has a State Govt ever been sacked by the feds – probably not. The only people who can do that would be the voters at the next ACT election. Personally, I can not see that happening because of the Federal Libs, the ineffective ACT Libs and the expansion in the no. of ACT electorates (which must surely favour the ACT Lb’s and ACt Labour.

Despite the terrible ACT budget situation (and add in the infrastructure projects like Light Rail, the new ACT Gov’t building + cost of many more MLAs, etc) I doubt that the ACT Gov’t is “close” to financial collapse.

After all, they will just go on incraesing annual Rates beyond the avg. 10% pa over 20 years + further degredate municiple services to help reduce or at least control the deficite. Thats no doubt why they have retained their AAA credit rating.

ACT labour can basically do what they like in Canberra fiscally – they probably won’t loose Government here anyway.

You forget that the ACT is a Territory, not a state. The same procedures may not apply.
The increased rates will not be enough to save them and the expansion of the Legislative Assembly will cost at least double what they claim.
The AAA credit rating is given because the ratings agency believe that the ACT is 100% guaranteed by the Federal Government which also has a AAA rating.
The same ratings agencies must have believed the USA Federal Reserve would bail out Leahman Bros. also so they gave them the same rating also. We all know what happened next.

JC 10:04 pm 18 Jan 15

Steven Bailey said :

John Hargreaves said :

The only thing I agree with is the need for more senators to show parity with other jurisdictions, but would far prefer to abolish the senate altogether.

On the question of the number of MLAs, I refer rioters to my item on the disparity of representation with other jurisdictions and the actual numbers per elected rep in Tasmania. This disparity is absurd when you consider that we have a stronger economy, and a right to representation just like the rest. That our elected reps have 13,500 or so punters to look after is just wrong, if the other eight jurisdictions are the norm.

On top of that I remind Steven that Tasmania doesn’t have a three tiered governance, it has a five tiered governance. It has senators and members of the reps, it has an upper and a lower house and it has councils. We have two. The ACT is the only jurisdiction to have only two.

The only alternatives are to have the ACT governed by NSW and that would be an unmitigated disaster, or governed by a dictator like minister in the federal government. Remember Hodgeman? The Mouth from the South? This was his nickname. Or do you remember Ralph Hunt from Queensland?

People here should stop whingeing about the size of the Assembly and start talking about the quality in it. If people are unhappy with that quality then change the people in it. Have some courage and stand if you think you are of better quality. This comment is directed at others, not Steven, cos I know he intends to be a starter.

I am also irritated by the uninformed bagging of MLAs and their workload by people who have not the slightest idea of what that workload is and in all probability have never had a casual conversation with an MLA in their lives.

John, I’m a bit confused by your own confusion. Tasmania has 3 tiers of government… like all of the other states. The number of houses in each parliament or assembly does not contribute to the number of ‘tiers’ of government. (…?)

John used the word GOVERNANCE and he is right, Tasmania has 5 tiers and he explained what they were. Of course there only 3 tiers of GOVERNMENT, which is completely different from GOVERNANCE. Of course the ACT has 4 tiers of GOVERNANCE, as we lack an ACT upper house.

m_ratt 9:39 pm 18 Jan 15

Steven Bailey said :

The number of houses in each parliament or assembly does not contribute to the number of ‘tiers’ of government. (…?)

And if it did, then the ACT has three, not two. (ACT LA, HoR, S).

Steven Bailey 8:11 pm 18 Jan 15

John Hargreaves said :

The only thing I agree with is the need for more senators to show parity with other jurisdictions, but would far prefer to abolish the senate altogether.

On the question of the number of MLAs, I refer rioters to my item on the disparity of representation with other jurisdictions and the actual numbers per elected rep in Tasmania. This disparity is absurd when you consider that we have a stronger economy, and a right to representation just like the rest. That our elected reps have 13,500 or so punters to look after is just wrong, if the other eight jurisdictions are the norm.

On top of that I remind Steven that Tasmania doesn’t have a three tiered governance, it has a five tiered governance. It has senators and members of the reps, it has an upper and a lower house and it has councils. We have two. The ACT is the only jurisdiction to have only two.

The only alternatives are to have the ACT governed by NSW and that would be an unmitigated disaster, or governed by a dictator like minister in the federal government. Remember Hodgeman? The Mouth from the South? This was his nickname. Or do you remember Ralph Hunt from Queensland?

People here should stop whingeing about the size of the Assembly and start talking about the quality in it. If people are unhappy with that quality then change the people in it. Have some courage and stand if you think you are of better quality. This comment is directed at others, not Steven, cos I know he intends to be a starter.

I am also irritated by the uninformed bagging of MLAs and their workload by people who have not the slightest idea of what that workload is and in all probability have never had a casual conversation with an MLA in their lives.

John, I’m a bit confused by your own confusion. Tasmania has 3 tiers of government… like all of the other states. The number of houses in each parliament or assembly does not contribute to the number of ‘tiers’ of government. (…?)

rommeldog56 8:10 pm 18 Jan 15

dungfungus said :

rommeldog56 said :

JC said :

rommeldog56 said :

Oh comne on – give us a break !

Yes – wastage exists at State Gov’t level too. But the revenue base that States enjoy from both Ratepayers and commercial activity, is huge compared to the ACTs revenue base and number of Ratepayers.

Ergo, given the terrible current state of the ACT budget, Ratepayers money must be spent/invested wisely by the ACT Gov’t. The QLD, NSW, WA and Vic State Gov’t can afford light rail/trams and the layers of Govt they have.


To say that the Council fees in these places are high than the rapidly rising ACTs Annual Rates is not correct.

Firstly states do not receive money from ratepayers, rates go to the councils.

Secondly states get funding from GST, specific deferal funding (hospitals and schooling) and state based taxes, such as stamp duty etc which was meant to have been done away with.

As we know the GST is collected by the commonwealth and distributed to states and territories, not based on where the GST was collected but based on where the commonwealth believes the funding should be directed to take into account the differing income base of the state.

Hence states such as WA receive less than they collect and the ACT more than they collect.

This a long way to balance out you point about revenue raising capacity.

But municipal services seem to be the main gripe in the last few posts, clearly in states this is provided by councils, who’s sole revenue source is rates and council charges. Whilst I do freely agree municipal services have dropped, I do not buy the argument it has dropped lower the rest of the country. We have come down to the same as the rest of the country, because that is where the sensible balance between cost and delivery is met. Some may not like it, but it is a reality.

I get that – and the ACT Gov’t gets both Annual Rates and GST.

But that does not excuse the run down of municiple services against the tripling of Annual Rates. The ACT Gov’t was also supposed to do away with Stamp Duty when the GST came in – but like all States/Territories, did not. Instead, it chose to slug ACT Ratepayers by up to 10% pa rise in Annual Rates pa for 20 years to do that, including hitting up again those who had already paid full stamp duty on purchase on a house. Sounds fair to me.

The “reality”. I’m afraid the reality is what ACT voters and Ratepayers let the ACt Gov’t get away with. they are onviously a pretty apathetic/passive lot. So, on that point, I agree that it is “reality”. What irks me is that the $ for municiple services are being spent on things the ACT can not afford and will no doubt create more budget debt into the future.

The “main gripe’ is about the ACT Gov’t overspending and wasting Ratepayers money now and stuffing up the future. The degredation in municipal services is just a symptom of that and can not be excused.

The ACT Government appears close to financial collapse.
Details of another damning audit report on stuff-ups with Calvary Hospital in the CT today.
If it were a council, the state government would have an administrator in already.
Which Federal government agency will assume responsibility for sorting out the mess?

That won’t happen. Because the ACT is a combination of State & Council functions, I dont know how an administrator can be appointed – if just a Council, then the State Gov’t can sack them and appoiont an administrator. Has a State Govt ever been sacked by the feds – probably not. The only people who can do that would be the voters at the next ACT election. Personally, I can not see that happening because of the Federal Libs, the ineffective ACT Libs and the expansion in the no. of ACT electorates (which must surely favour the ACT Lb’s and ACt Labour.

Despite the terrible ACT budget situation (and add in the infrastructure projects like Light Rail, the new ACT Gov’t building + cost of many more MLAs, etc) I doubt that the ACT Gov’t is “close” to financial collapse.

After all, they will just go on incraesing annual Rates beyond the avg. 10% pa over 20 years + further degredate municiple services to help reduce or at least control the deficite. Thats no doubt why they have retained their AAA credit rating. ACT labour can basically do what they like in Canberra fiscally – they probably won’t loose Government here anyway.

dungfungus 1:39 pm 18 Jan 15

rommeldog56 said :

JC said :

rommeldog56 said :

Oh comne on – give us a break !

Yes – wastage exists at State Gov’t level too. But the revenue base that States enjoy from both Ratepayers and commercial activity, is huge compared to the ACTs revenue base and number of Ratepayers.

Ergo, given the terrible current state of the ACT budget, Ratepayers money must be spent/invested wisely by the ACT Gov’t. The QLD, NSW, WA and Vic State Gov’t can afford light rail/trams and the layers of Govt they have.


To say that the Council fees in these places are high than the rapidly rising ACTs Annual Rates is not correct.

Firstly states do not receive money from ratepayers, rates go to the councils.

Secondly states get funding from GST, specific deferal funding (hospitals and schooling) and state based taxes, such as stamp duty etc which was meant to have been done away with.

As we know the GST is collected by the commonwealth and distributed to states and territories, not based on where the GST was collected but based on where the commonwealth believes the funding should be directed to take into account the differing income base of the state.

Hence states such as WA receive less than they collect and the ACT more than they collect.

This a long way to balance out you point about revenue raising capacity.

But municipal services seem to be the main gripe in the last few posts, clearly in states this is provided by councils, who’s sole revenue source is rates and council charges. Whilst I do freely agree municipal services have dropped, I do not buy the argument it has dropped lower the rest of the country. We have come down to the same as the rest of the country, because that is where the sensible balance between cost and delivery is met. Some may not like it, but it is a reality.

I get that – and the ACT Gov’t gets both Annual Rates and GST.

But that does not excuse the run down of municiple services against the tripling of Annual Rates. The ACT Gov’t was also supposed to do away with Stamp Duty when the GST came in – but like all States/Territories, did not. Instead, it chose to slug ACT Ratepayers by up to 10% pa rise in Annual Rates pa for 20 years to do that, including hitting up again those who had already paid full stamp duty on purchase on a house. Sounds fair to me.

The “reality”. I’m afraid the reality is what ACT voters and Ratepayers let the ACt Gov’t get away with. they are onviously a pretty apathetic/passive lot. So, on that point, I agree that it is “reality”. What irks me is that the $ for municiple services are being spent on things the ACT can not afford and will no doubt create more budget debt into the future.

The “main gripe’ is about the ACT Gov’t overspending and wasting Ratepayers money now and stuffing up the future. The degredation in municipal services is just a symptom of that and can not be excused.

The ACT Government appears close to financial collapse.
Details of another damning audit report on stuff-ups with Calvary Hospital in the CT today.
If it were a council, the state government would have an administrator in already.
Which Federal government agency will assume responsibility for sorting out the mess?

rommeldog56 7:03 pm 17 Jan 15

JC said :

rommeldog56 said :

Oh comne on – give us a break !

Yes – wastage exists at State Gov’t level too. But the revenue base that States enjoy from both Ratepayers and commercial activity, is huge compared to the ACTs revenue base and number of Ratepayers.

Ergo, given the terrible current state of the ACT budget, Ratepayers money must be spent/invested wisely by the ACT Gov’t. The QLD, NSW, WA and Vic State Gov’t can afford light rail/trams and the layers of Govt they have.


To say that the Council fees in these places are high than the rapidly rising ACTs Annual Rates is not correct.

Firstly states do not receive money from ratepayers, rates go to the councils.

Secondly states get funding from GST, specific deferal funding (hospitals and schooling) and state based taxes, such as stamp duty etc which was meant to have been done away with.

As we know the GST is collected by the commonwealth and distributed to states and territories, not based on where the GST was collected but based on where the commonwealth believes the funding should be directed to take into account the differing income base of the state.

Hence states such as WA receive less than they collect and the ACT more than they collect.

This a long way to balance out you point about revenue raising capacity.

But municipal services seem to be the main gripe in the last few posts, clearly in states this is provided by councils, who’s sole revenue source is rates and council charges. Whilst I do freely agree municipal services have dropped, I do not buy the argument it has dropped lower the rest of the country. We have come down to the same as the rest of the country, because that is where the sensible balance between cost and delivery is met. Some may not like it, but it is a reality.

I get that – and the ACT Gov’t gets both Annual Rates and GST. But that does not excuse the run down of municiple services against the tripling of Annual Rates. The ACT Gov’t was also supposed to do away with Stamp Duty when the GST came in – but like all States/Territories, did not. Instead, it chose to slug ACT Ratepayers by up to 10% pa rise in Annual Rates pa for 20 years to do that, including hitting up again those who had already paid full stamp duty on purchase on a house. Sounds fair to me.

The “reality”. I’m afraid the reality is what ACT voters and Ratepayers let the ACt Gov’t get away with. they are onviously a pretty apathetic/passive lot. So, on that point, I agree that it is “reality”. What irks me is that the $ for municiple services are being spent on things the ACT can not afford and will no doubt create more budget debt into the future.

The “main gripe’ is about the ACT Gov’t overspending and wasting Ratepayers money now and stuffing up the future. The degredation in municipal services is just a symptom of that and can not be excused.

MERC600 12:57 pm 17 Jan 15

rommeldog56 said :

watto23 said :

miz said :

JC, I don’t think we have ended up with the ‘same level’ as everyone else, I think we get far worse value for money than everyone else. This is partly because the structure of our self-government itself is more costly, but also because the ACT Government does not prioritise municipal services but prefers to spend money on ‘big things’ (nice as they may be) like Arboretums, public art and vastly expensive but completely irrelevant, unconstitutional court cases to ‘send a message about gay marriage.’
The poor and poorly-run municipal services are what Canberrans see and have to deal with every day. Potholes, unman grass, graffiti EVERYWHERE YOU GO. People only compare our present level of these services to pre-self-government because the difference is so darn stark.

I’m not sure your observations actually mean that we are getting poor value for money. Go ask people that have a local council and all the red tape they create because to make up funding they need to raise revenue from charging more for carparking, charging more for rates and all sorts of fees and licenses to just go about your daily business. Councils even require things like permits to have a birthday party in a park!

Canberrans are very bad at realising that things here are very good. We complain about anything. Our government is not perfect and they need to be held to account, but I don’t see any more wastage by the ACT government vs the federal government the state governments or councils. Gold Coast council had no issues building themselves some light rail and there are people there on both sides of the fence as there are here.

Oh comne on – give us a break !

Yes – wastage exists at State Gov’t level too. But the revenue base that States enjoy from both Ratepayers and commercial activity, is huge compared to the ACTs revenue base and number of Ratepayers.

Ergo, given the terrible current state of the ACT budget, Ratepayers money must be spent/invested wisely by the ACT Gov’t. The QLD, NSW, WA and Vic State Gov’t can afford light rail/trams and the layers of Govt they have.

The ACT simply can not, at the present time, afford Light Rail and to waste Ratepayers $ on such things as a doomed $800K challenge to same sex marriage. If a person in a private sector company wasted $800K of their employers money just to make a point, they would be sacked.

Incidentially – has anyone travelled through country Victoria and many towns in country NSW. They are often very well kept – with much civic pride. The ACT Gov’t could well take a leaf out of their books for maintaining municiple services.

To say that the Council fees in these places are high than the rapidly rising ACTs Annual Rates is not correct.

You can put what ever positive spin on it you like, but the degredation in municiple services in the ACT against a background of up to 10% increase pa in Annual Rates and so much wasteful spending, speakes for itself. A Government out of control.

Your spot on with the 800k wasted on the doomed same sex marriage attempt. A result of people who can treat the treasury with contempt,, and arrogance…and I suspect will get in again next election.

JC 12:06 pm 17 Jan 15

rommeldog56 said :

Oh comne on – give us a break !

Yes – wastage exists at State Gov’t level too. But the revenue base that States enjoy from both Ratepayers and commercial activity, is huge compared to the ACTs revenue base and number of Ratepayers.

Ergo, given the terrible current state of the ACT budget, Ratepayers money must be spent/invested wisely by the ACT Gov’t. The QLD, NSW, WA and Vic State Gov’t can afford light rail/trams and the layers of Govt they have.


To say that the Council fees in these places are high than the rapidly rising ACTs Annual Rates is not correct.

Firstly states do not receive money from ratepayers, rates go to the councils.

Secondly states get funding from GST, specific deferal funding (hospitals and schooling) and state based taxes, such as stamp duty etc which was meant to have been done away with.

As we know the GST is collected by the commonwealth and distributed to states and territories, not based on where the GST was collected but based on where the commonwealth believes the funding should be directed to take into account the differing income base of the state.

Hence states such as WA receive less than they collect and the ACT more than they collect.

This a long way to balance out you point about revenue raising capacity.

But municipal services seem to be the main gripe in the last few posts, clearly in states this is provided by councils, who’s sole revenue source is rates and council charges. Whilst I do freely agree municipal services have dropped, I do not buy the argument it has dropped lower the rest of the country. We have come down to the same as the rest of the country, because that is where the sensible balance between cost and delivery is met. Some may not like it, but it is a reality.

rommeldog56 10:48 pm 16 Jan 15

watto23 said :

miz said :

JC, I don’t think we have ended up with the ‘same level’ as everyone else, I think we get far worse value for money than everyone else. This is partly because the structure of our self-government itself is more costly, but also because the ACT Government does not prioritise municipal services but prefers to spend money on ‘big things’ (nice as they may be) like Arboretums, public art and vastly expensive but completely irrelevant, unconstitutional court cases to ‘send a message about gay marriage.’
The poor and poorly-run municipal services are what Canberrans see and have to deal with every day. Potholes, unman grass, graffiti EVERYWHERE YOU GO. People only compare our present level of these services to pre-self-government because the difference is so darn stark.

I’m not sure your observations actually mean that we are getting poor value for money. Go ask people that have a local council and all the red tape they create because to make up funding they need to raise revenue from charging more for carparking, charging more for rates and all sorts of fees and licenses to just go about your daily business. Councils even require things like permits to have a birthday party in a park!

Canberrans are very bad at realising that things here are very good. We complain about anything. Our government is not perfect and they need to be held to account, but I don’t see any more wastage by the ACT government vs the federal government the state governments or councils. Gold Coast council had no issues building themselves some light rail and there are people there on both sides of the fence as there are here.

Oh comne on – give us a break ! Yes – wastage exists at State Gov’t level too. But the revenue base that States enjoy from both Ratepayers and commercial activity, is huge compared to the ACTs revenue base and number of Ratepayers.

Ergo, given the terrible current state of the ACT budget, Ratepayers money must be spent/invested wisely by the ACT Gov’t. The QLD, NSW, WA and Vic State Gov’t can afford light rail/trams and the layers of Govt they have.

The ACT simply can not, at the present time, afford Light Rail and to waste Ratepayers $ on such things as a doomed $800K challenge to same sex marriage. If a person in a private sector company wasted $800K of their employers money just to make a point, they would be sacked.

Incidentially – has anyone travelled through country Victoria and many towns in country NSW. They are often very well kept – with much civic pride. The ACT Gov’t could well take a leaf out of their books for maintaining municiple services. To say that the Council fees in these places are high than the rapidly rising ACTs Annual Rates is not correct.

You can put what ever positive spin on it you like, but the degredation in municiple services in the ACT against a background of up to 10% increase pa in Annual Rates and so much wasteful spending, speakes for itself. A Government out of control.

miz 7:42 pm 16 Jan 15

Having lived in numerous locations in Sydney and the NSW Central Coast I stand by my post at #23. And I assure you I am not the only one – it is a common topic at my workplace. I wouldn’t mind paying if it looked as if the government was getting basic municipal services right. But here, we pay, and still don’t get (unless you bug ’em – and then only sometimes. I highly recommend the NeatStreets app BTW).

watto23 2:51 pm 16 Jan 15

miz said :

JC, I don’t think we have ended up with the ‘same level’ as everyone else, I think we get far worse value for money than everyone else. This is partly because the structure of our self-government itself is more costly, but also because the ACT Government does not prioritise municipal services but prefers to spend money on ‘big things’ (nice as they may be) like Arboretums, public art and vastly expensive but completely irrelevant, unconstitutional court cases to ‘send a message about gay marriage.’
The poor and poorly-run municipal services are what Canberrans see and have to deal with every day. Potholes, unman grass, graffiti EVERYWHERE YOU GO. People only compare our present level of these services to pre-self-government because the difference is so darn stark.

I’m not sure your observations actually mean that we are getting poor value for money. Go ask people that have a local council and all the red tape they create because to make up funding they need to raise revenue from charging more for carparking, charging more for rates and all sorts of fees and licenses to just go about your daily business. Councils even require things like permits to have a birthday party in a park!

Canberrans are very bad at realising that things here are very good. We complain about anything. Our government is not perfect and they need to be held to account, but I don’t see any more wastage by the ACT government vs the federal government the state governments or councils. Gold Coast council had no issues building themselves some light rail and there are people there on both sides of the fence as there are here.

JC 11:20 am 16 Jan 15

miz said :

JC, I don’t think we have ended up with the ‘same level’ as everyone else, I think we get far worse value for money than everyone else. This is partly because the structure of our self-government itself is more costly, but also because the ACT Government does not prioritise municipal services but prefers to spend money on ‘big things’ (nice as they may be) like Arboretums, public art and vastly expensive but completely irrelevant, unconstitutional court cases to ‘send a message about gay marriage.’
The poor and poorly-run municipal services are what Canberrans see and have to deal with every day. Potholes, unman grass, graffiti EVERYWHERE YOU GO. People only compare our present level of these services to pre-self-government because the difference is so darn stark.

Sure Canberra costs more? Go to NSW and they have councils and the state government, which is formed of two houses, we just have one government.

As for munciple services, I would suggest you have been everywhere around Canberra and comparing to the good old days, but doubt you have been out and seen the rest of the country, if you had of been you would see other areas face the exact same issues in this regards as the ACT. Of course with much higher council rates compared to the rates in the ACT.

miz 7:22 am 16 Jan 15

‘Unmown’

miz 7:19 am 16 Jan 15

JC, I don’t think we have ended up with the ‘same level’ as everyone else, I think we get far worse value for money than everyone else. This is partly because the structure of our self-government itself is more costly, but also because the ACT Government does not prioritise municipal services but prefers to spend money on ‘big things’ (nice as they may be) like Arboretums, public art and vastly expensive but completely irrelevant, unconstitutional court cases to ‘send a message about gay marriage.’
The poor and poorly-run municipal services are what Canberrans see and have to deal with every day. Potholes, unman grass, graffiti EVERYWHERE YOU GO. People only compare our present level of these services to pre-self-government because the difference is so darn stark.

JC 10:06 pm 15 Jan 15

farnarkler said :

JC my point was that everything in Canberra worked in 1987 so I don’t believe we NEED a government. Why not have the ACT governed in the same way Washington DC is?

John, why wouldn’t a country want to give it’s capital the best of everything. Look at Brasilia and Ankara. You’ve got the diplomatic corps in both and both countries don’t want the dipos living and working in a crappy city.

I agree Canberra worked, but it worked because money was easy to come by, money that the rest of Australia put in to provide us with the best of everthing.

Now whilst of course being a purpose built capital with little industry outside of government and support of government workers the country does need to chip in more, the way it was before was without doubt way over the top.

Maybe it would have been better if Self Government was more council like rather than state like, but fact is whilst the good old days, prior to 1989 were good for us (I’ve called myself an ACT resident for 37 of my 42 years) it wasn’t good for the country.

I sigh when I see people complaining about the changes over the years, roads, costs and services for example, but those changes have seen us go down to the same level as everyone else, certainly not too many cases where we have it worse than most states. Yeah it is sad but necessary.

And could you well imagine what would have happened to the ACT if we were still Federally governed with the current Federal government?

As for comparisions to Washington DC, must admit never cared too much about the US, so had no idea, so read up, on WIKI of course. Looking at it, it would seem as if our self government is not too different to DC.

Only difference is change our Chief Minister to a Mayor. Other than that it seems they elect members from electorates (wards as they call them). Even their ability to set laws seems ACT like, with the Feds having more influence than states.

One thing I did know before, and certainly wouldn’t want here is not having a voting representative in the house of reps and no Senate member. Imagine being part of a country and not having someone to represent your views or to attempt to protect your intrests.

No thanks.

PS. Have you ever been to Ankara? I have, and be buggered if it had the best of everything. Looked a lot like a run down dump!

chewy14 10:04 pm 15 Jan 15

The main problem with the increase in members is that they’ve gone for a 5×5 option which conveniently, and I’m sure completely accidentally, will benefit both major parties over any potential new smaller party.

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