Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Bracks & Public Transport: Do As I Say, Not As I Do

It would seem that while the Bracks government think public transport should be good enough for everyone else, when it comes to themselves they prefer to do the one thing they continually demonise ordinary Victorians for doing - driving.

The Bracks government is set to impose it's new parking tax from January 1, and commuters should ask how many of the Bracks' government's own MPs and Ministers will be catching public transport to work. After all, the declared intention of the tax is to encourage commuters, which most MPs and Ministers are, considering they work on Spring Street, to use public transport:

The Government is expected to raise $38 million in revenue through the levy from 2008, with Melbourne City Council to get a $5 million slice.

It claims the levy will reduce congestion, improve the environment, and encourage more people to use public transport, but critics believe it will do little to achieve those aims.
- The Age

As a Year 11 student commuting across the city to Melbourne High School, I can remember Denis Napthine, opposition leader, jumping on my train one morning at Clifton Hill Station, for the ride into Parliament. Yet I have never seen an ALP MP or Cabinet member on public transport, instead I often see Peter Batchelor being scooted around the CBD in a chauffer driven Statesman, and the Parliament House car park full of MPs taxpayer funded cars.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Bracks Government Fiddle The Books To Hide The Loot

The Bracks government has been using inconsistent accounting to hide $1.4 billion of extra revenue it has accrued over the past twelve months, according to Auditor General Wayne Cameron. While the Bracks government declared a surplus of $795 million, the Auditor General has revealed that using the same method the Bracks government used last year, the surplus would be $2.1 billion (See Herald Sun: $2.1 billion surplus earns rebuke; Auditor General: Report on the Finances of the State of Victoria, 2004-05).

Now there is nothing wrong with a surplus, but when the Bracks government is at the same time busy imposing new taxes on outer suburban families (See Brackswatch: Bracks: Breaking Another Promise; Herald Sun: Battler counts cost of new tax), then you have to wonder what is going on.

The secret can probably be found in the Bracks Government's determination to be re-elected in 2006 for another four years on the hog; after all just earlier this week they announced $502 million in spending in rural Victoria, where a loss of vital support in 1999 killed the Kennett government. Whereas the Federal government in surplus has focused on pushing through tax reform and cutting taxes, the State government hasn't unveiled any plan to use it's tax bonanza to reform inefficient and outdated taxes like Stamp Duty and Payroll Tax; or to cut the burden on Victorian taxpayers. Instead, they are adding to the burden of battling Victorians in order to boost the size of the bribes they can offer voters in 2006. Worst of all, they don't even want to admit what they are doing, and like Enron before them are resorting to accounting trickery in order to hide their loot.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Bracks: Breaking Another Promise

The Bracks' government will break another promise today, when they release their new tax of up to $10,000 on the construction of new family homes in the outer suburbs. While Deputy Premier Thwaites told a conference just last month that there would be no new charges on home construction, the Bracks government seems to have decided to go ahead and slug the young families who move to these areas anyway.

Yesterday the Urban Development Institute of Australia's chief executive, Tony de Domenic, said the institute had taken Mr Thwaites at his word and if a tax were now introduced, it would prove that the Government could not be trusted. - The Age: Bracks to reveal fringe housing tax

In a further display of Bracks government bias, they are arguing that this tax is in order to pay for much needed infrastructure in these outer suburban areas. However the funds will go into general revenue; and the families already struggly to afford a home need to remember that when inner city public transport users needed to be bailed out, the Bracks government coughed up a billion without asking hardly a question.

The Bracks Government is desperate to prove the success of it's Melbourne 2030 plan to force more Melburnians into apartments in the suburbs and increase their dependence on public transport. As we have seen with both the parking tax and this new tax, only the rich can afford to drive a car or own a family home under the Bracks government. Not everyone wants to live in an apartment, and in a land rich country like Australia, everyone should have the opportunity to build their dream house in the suburbs. Bracks' doesn't get this, and never will.

[Update 17/11/2005: Gay Not Socialist has correctly dubbed this the Australian Dream Tax]

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Sunday, November 13, 2005

Bracks Government: All Spin No Substance

Dispatches From the Moderate Left has the story of how savvy media management has replaced taking reponsibility and coming up with real solutions to the problems faced by commuters in Melbourne.

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