ACT News


Stanhope and his secret tax

THE Stanhope government was planning a secret $26 million a year renewable energy tax that would have slugged households with an extra $100 tax bill to ensure it reached its no waste 2010 plan.

But its own advice warned that the tax would have been a strain on struggling households.

The costed nine-point plan would have raised $37.2 million for government coffers each year and added more than $100 to every Canberran household's annual bills.

The plans were revealed as part of the release of 280 cabinet submissions from March 2002 to March 2003. It's the second time in Australia's history a serving government's cabinet submissions have been made available to the public.

On Tuesday, the Executive Documents Release Bill triggered the release of decade-old ACT documents from the second six months of the Labor government under Jon Stanhope until March 2003.

The documents provide a fascinating glimpse into the scale of the ACT bureaucracy.


Some of the documents behind the biggest projects, including the now defunct No Waste by 2020 plan and V8 supercar race, were released.

In the case of No Waste it shows the plan to rid Canberra of rubbish was not aspirational and there was a clear path to zero waste.

The cabinet documents relating to the V8 car race show the Stanhope government viewed a draft of an auditor-general's report into the V8 supercar race before making a decision to cancel the race.

The documents also show the speed of government action with some problems still unresolved including submission 112 - an inquiry into the size of the Legislative Assembly.

As pertinent now as it was a decade ago, on Thursday legislation passed in the Senate allowing an increase in the size of the ACT Legislative Assembly. The bill, which passed the House of Representatives last month, gives the ACT the right to decide the size of its assembly.

An expert reference group inquiring into the size of the ACT Legislative Assembly will this week report to Chief Minister Katy Gallagher.