9 September 2016

The real cost of ACT Labor’s tram plan has been revealed through new analysis. The ACT Labor tram network will amount to $14 billion according to a former senior ACT Treasury official which means it will cost every household $4,000 every year, Shadow Minister for Transport Alistair Coe said today.

“In an article which appeared in today's Canberra Times, it is stated that there are only three options for dealing with the massive expense which is ACT Labor’s tram,” Mr Coe said.

1. Cut spending on health, education and other services;
2. Significantly raise taxes; or
3. Abandon light rail.

“Labor's plan for 90 kilometres of tram tracks is expected to cost $14 billion. This works out to be more than $80,000 per household, or $4,000 for every household every year.

“The Treasury official said light rail is a luxury and might lead to bankruptcy.

“Every Canberran will pay for Labor's reckless and desperate policies.

“Andrew Barr will do anything to be re-elected, without considering the massive burden on Canberrans for decades to come, including imposing an additional $4,000 annual bill for each household,” Mr Coe concluded.

8 September 2016

A Canberra Liberals Government will provide $250,000 to fund new computer equipment, furniture and staffing for the YWCA Canberra Clubhouse in Richardson, Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services Nicole Lawder said today.

“The YWCA Clubhouse provides a safe out of school learning environment for children, often from disadvantaged backgrounds, to develop new skills and build self confidence through technology use. It’s a terrific initiative and the Canberra Liberals believe it should continue to thrive,” Ms Lawder said.

“We will provide a one off grant of $25,000 for equipment and furniture and ongoing funding of $75,000 per year for three years from 2017-18 to allow to Clubhouse to employ a youth worker as a coordinator.

“The YWCA Computer Clubhouse in Richardson opened in October 2014 and has around 160 registered members from college, high school and primary school levels.

“The Clubhouse does terrific work helping disadvantaged young people connect with mentors and learn new technological skills. It’s exactly the type of program effective local government should support,” Ms Lawder concluded.

Contact: Joe Prevedello 0402768432

7 September 2016

The ACT was the only jurisdiction to record a decline in housing affordability and rental affordability over the June quarter, according to the Real Estate Institute of Australia and Adelaide Bank’s Housing Affordability Report for the June quarter 2016, Shadow Minister for Housing Nicole Lawder said today.

“The proportion of income needed to meet home loan repayments increased by 0.1 percent to 19.4 percent in June while proportion of income required to meet the median rent increased by 0.4 percentage points to 17.8 percent,” Ms Lawder said.

“This data demonstrates that families on low to moderate household incomes continue to face an uphill battle on housing costs in Canberra.

“When you are on a below-average income, a decline in rental affordability makes it more difficult for first home buyers to save up for their initial deposit and of course the problem for first home buyers is not necessarily the ability to afford monthly repayments; it’s saving up for that lump sum.

“The Barr Government continues to squeeze families as rates triple and as basic fees and charges increase. Andrew Barr has clearly forgotten those struggling in Canberra,” Ms Lawder concluded.

Contact: Joe Prevedello 0402768432

8 September 2016

Yvette Berry had repeated warnings about issues with Inanna Inc months before its eventual collapse this week. The Minister now has serious questions to answer about the government’s apparent lack of oversight, Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services Nicole Lawder said today.

“Inanna has been providing valuable services and support for vulnerable women and families for 30 years and its collapse this week is a tragedy. I’m not confident though that the government did all it could leading up to the collapse to protect public funds,” Ms Lawder said.

“Yvette Berry needs to answer questions including:

- Why did Inanna fail to submit a community housing report on time (due in November 2015) and why did the government grant extension after extension for the submission of the report? 

- Why was it not until the end of May 2016 – six months later – that the Human Services Registrar finally issued binding instructions to Inanna? 

- Why didn’t Yvette Berry personally take any action?

“Inanna received a substantial amount of taxpayers’ money, in the order of $2 million a year from the ACT Government. Surely better oversight of this funding arrangement was necessary. Yvette Berry needs to explain the government’s failure to take early action on this issue,” Ms Lawder concluded.

Contact: Joe Prevedello 0402768432

5 September 2016

Andrew Barr needs to demonstrate leadership and remove Chris Bourke as Minister for Children and Young People. It follows the Minister’s unprofessional display on an ABC TV program into child protection failures in the ACT, and his previous and subsequent failure to respond and act on these issues, Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Hanson said today.

“In the program, Chris Bourke demonstrated a complete lack of understanding of child protection, was clearly out of his depth and was devoid of any knowledge of the areas he’s responsible for in child protection. Subsequently, he’s failed to front up and tell Canberrans what he’s going to do about issues in the child protection system,” Mr Hanson said.

“Andrew Barr needs to do the right thing and remove these critical responsibilities in child protection from Chris Bourke and move quickly to repair the system,” Mr Hanson concluded.

“The ABC TV program explored two terrible tragedies that highlighted how badly child protection has been managed in the ACT, despite numerous independent reports to government going back more than a decade,” Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services Nicole Lawder said.

“If Andrew Barr is interested in the care of vulnerable children, he needs to send a strong message that Chris Bourke’s behaviour has demonstrated that he isn’t up to the job, and he needs to remove him as Minister for Children and Young People,” Ms Lawder concluded.