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P r \J ^ > I s s u e d b y:-*

The M inister far the Capitat Territerqg

The M i n i s t e r for the Capi tal T e r r i t o r y , Mr Kep Enderby,

today c hal l enge d as mi s l e a di ng and i n a c c u r a t e s t a t e me n t s

made in a l e t t e r to the "Canberra Times" by Dr Pe t e r Hughes

about the Canberra municipal a c c ount s . .

Mr Enderby s ai d Dr Hughes had been given f u l l document­

a t i o n and inf or mat i on. His r e f us a l to i n t e r p r e t it c o r r e c t l y

did not help the publ i c to understand C a n b e r r a ' s municipal

account i ng and the proposed r a t e s char ges .

The average r a t e outgoi ngs for Canberra hous ehol ders

under the s c a l e of charges proposed for 1973/7*1 would be *

$141.15. This i ncludes charges f or general f a c i l i t i e s and

s e r v i c e s throughout the m u n i c i p a l i t y , for water s u p p l i e d >

(excluding excess water) and for the sewerage s e r v i c e . The

average out goings of hous ehol ders in the s i x S t a t e c a p i t a l s

for these combined s e r v i c e s was p r e s e n t l y $ 1 5 9 » n o t $86 a s

s t a t e d by Dr H u g h e s . T h o s e i n t e r s t a t e o u t g o i n g s w e r e e x p e c t e d

t o i n c r e a s e c o n s i d e r a b l y in 1 9 7 3 / 7 4 . C o m p a r i s o n s w i t h S t a t e s

we r e p r e s e n t e d o n l y f o r p u b l i c i n f o r m a t i o n . '

Mr E n d e r b y s a i d i t s h o u l d be a p p r e c i a t e d t h a t t h e a v e r a g e

h o u s e h o l d was o n l y b e i n g a s k e d t o pay 50 c e n t s p e r week mor e

d u r i n g t h e c o mi n g y e a r . ·

L e g i s l a t i o n , a b o u t t o be I n t r o d u c e d , wo u l d r e d u c e by 5 0 %

t h e r a t e s o u t g o i n g s o f p e n s i o n e r s e n t i t l e d t o p e n s i o n e r

m e d i c a l s e r v i c e s . S u c h p e o p l e a l s o h a d t h e o p t i o n o f e l e c t i n g

n o t t o p a y r a t e s a t a l l b u t r a t h e r t o d e f e r t h e m u n t i l s u c h

t i m e a s t h e i r p r o p e r t y i s t r a n s f e r r e d t o a n o t h e r o w n e r . T h e r e

i s a l s o a g e n e r a l d i s c r e t i o n t o g i v e r e l i e f i n c a s e s w h e r e

h a r d s h i p e x i s t s . Mr E n d e r b y s a i d t h a t i l l - i n f o r m e d a n d r e c k l e s s

s t a t e m e n t s c o u l d c a u s e u n n e c e s s a r y c o n c e r n t o e l d e r l y a n d s i c k

p e o p l e .

R a t e s w o u l d n o t d o u b l e w h e n n e w v a l u a t i o n s a r e i n t r o d u c e d

i n J u l y 1 9 7 4 . A n y o n e w h o a r g u e d t h i s d e m o n s t r a t e d i g n o r a n c e

o f t h e r a t i n g s y s t e m . R a t e s c o l l e c t e d a r e c a l c u l a t e d t o y i e l d

t h e a m o u n t o f m o n e y n e e d e d t o r u n t h e m u n i c i p a l - l i k e s e r v i c e s .

T h e d i s t r i b u t i o n o f r a t e s t h r o u g h o u t t h e c o m m u n i t y w a s b a s e d

o n t h e u n i m p r o v e d v a l u e o f l a n d . F o r e x a m p l e , i f c o s t s

r e m a i n e d s t e a d y a n d t h e v a l u a t i o n o f l a n d d o u b l e d t h e r a t e i n

. 2 .

t h e d o l l a r w o u l d o b v i o u s l y b e h a l v e d .

I t h a d b e e n s t a t e d t h a t t h e a v e r a g e i n c o m e t a x p a i d b y

a v e r a g e ACT r e s i d e n t s i s k 0 % h i g h e r t h a n t h e A u s t r a l i a n

a v e r a g e . T h i s i s s i m p l y a n i n d i c a t i o n o f t h e t a x a b l e i n c o m e

r e c e i v e d b y t h e C a n b e r r a c o m m u n i t y . A l l A u s t r a l i a n s a r e

r e q u i r e d t o c o n t r i b u t e t o t a x a t i o n r e v e n u e s . C a n b e r r a ' s

r a t e p a y e r s w e r e n o e x c e p t i o n .

L a n d d e v e l o p m e n t c h a r g e s a r e n o t I n c l u d e d i n t h e

m u n i c i p a l a c c o u n t . S u c h c o s t s a r e i n c l u d e d i n r e s e r v e p r i c e s

p l a c e d o n l a n d . T h e c a p i t a l c h a r g e s i n c l u d e d i n t h e

m u n i c i p a l a c c o u n t s r e f e r t o m u n i c i p a l f a c i l i t i e s s u c h a s

s w i m m i n g p o o l s , l i b r a r i e s , r e c r e a t i o n a n d s p o r t s g r o u n d s ,

w a t e r a n d s e w e r a g e h e a d w o r k s , f o o t p a t h s a n d m u n i c i p a l a u g ­

m e n t a t i o n w o r k s i n o l d e r s u b u r b s . ·

P e n d i n g c o m p l e t i o n o f t h e I n q u i r y b y t h e J o i n t

P a r l i a m e n t a r y C o m m i t t e e o n t h e ACT i n t o m u n i c i p a l a n d t e r r i ­

t o r i a l c o s t s a n d r e v e n u e s i n t h e A C T , Mr E n d e r b y h a d n o t

a s k e d t h e T r e a s u r e r t o d e t e r m i n e t h e f o r m o f t h e m u n i c i p a l

a c c o u n t s . T h e A u d i t o r - G e n e r a 1 h a d n o t b e e n a s k e d t o r e p o r t

o n t h e a c c o u n t s . B u t t h e a c c o u n t s f o r t h e p a s t t h r e e y e a r s

h a d b e e n c l o s e l y a n d r i g o r o u s l y e x a m i n e d b y t h e ACT A d v i s o r y

C o u n c i l a n d w e l l o v e r 5 0 0 q u e s t i o n s a s k e d b y C o u n c i l l o r s h a d

b e e n a n s w e r e d b y t h e D e p a r t m e n t t o t h e C o u n c i l ' s s a t i s f a c t i o n .

Mr P e a d h a d w r i t t e n t o t h e M i n i s t e r c o m p l i m e n t i n g t h e D e p a r t ­

m e n t o n i t s l u c i d p r e s e n t a t i o n o f t h e I s s u e .

Mr E n d e r b y s a i d t h e p o s s i b i l i t y o f f u t u r e C o m m o n w e a l t h

s u b v e n t i o n s t o t h e C a n b e r r a m u n i c i p a l i t y w a s o p e n b u t t h o s e

c r i t i c s , l i k e Dr H u g h e s , w h o c l a i m e d i n j u s t i c e h a d n o t s o u g h t

t o p u t t h e i r c a s e t o t h e J o i n t P a r l i a m e n t a r y C o m m i t t e e ,

s i t t i n g s i n c e J u n e 1 9 7 2 . T h e i n f e r e n c e s f r o m t h i s f a i l u r e

a r e c l e a r . ?

T h e A d v i s o r y C o u n c i l h a d m a d e o v e r *t 0 r e c o m m e n d a t i o n s

o n d e s i r a b l e a m e n d m e n t s t o t h e m u n i c i p a l a c c o u n t s . V i r t u a l l y ,

a l l h a d b e e n a d o p t e d i n c l u d i n g m o s t o f t h o s e w h i c h r e c o m m e n d e d

t r a n s f e r o f f i n a n c i a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r s e r v i c e s t o t h e

N a t i o n a l o r T e r r i t o r i a l a r e a s . ·

1 4 J u n e 1973