Daniella White

Record number of Canberrans cast early vote, as Barr takes aim at Libs, Greens over costings | The Canberra Times

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Voting has begun for the 2020 territory election, with a record number of Canberrans casting their votes when polls opened on Monday. As of 4pm Monday, 7300 Canberrans had already visited the ballot box, including Chief Minister Andrew Barr and his family. It was almost triple the number of votes cast on the first day of early voting in 2016. It came as Mr Barr hit out at the Liberals and the Greens for failing to submit any policies to Treasury for costing in time for the start of voting. As of Monday, Labor was the only party to have policies submitted on the ACT Treasury website. “It’s incumbent upon all parties who would seek to form government, or be part of a government, or seek to form a parliamentary agreement with a major party to put their policies in for costing,” he said. “The sooner they do so the better, so that voters can know whether their policies stack up and are deliverable or not, and the parties can explain how they will pay for the commitments that they’re making. “There have been some extravagant commitments made, particularly by the Canberra Liberals in forgoing hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue and then seeking to spend nearly a billion dollars in new commitments. “They have to explain how they will be paid for and they have to start submitting costings into the treasury process.” Greens Leader Shane Rattenbury said the party submitted three policies for costing on Monday afternoon. He said all the Greens’ major election commitments would be costed. Mr Rattenbury said the party had been detailed in its policy announcements, but the costings would provide independent verification. “I certainly think it’s important your key policies, particularly where they’ve had a strong focus in the election campaign, do get costed,” he said. Liberal Leader Alistair Coe said the party would be submitting policies to treasury in the coming days. “The Labor-Greens government has had access to the treasury for 19 years, the Canberra Liberals have had access for less than 19 days,” he said. “We have of course, with each policy announcement released the cost of the policy and will be complying with the treasury process. “The Canberra Liberals are proud of the commitments already made, and we look forward to making more commitments over the coming days and weeks. “We’ll of course comply with the treasury process, but everything we do is about lowering taxes and delivering better services.” Mr Coe said he would casting his vote sometime in the coming weeks. Mr Barr voted at CMAG about 10am on Monday morning with his partner Anthony, parents, brother, sister in law and niece and nephew by his side. He was the first leader of a major political party to cast a vote in the election. “People will find it easy and straightforward. With 15 early voting centres available across the territory, we are very strongly encouraging people to vote early and to vote safely,” Mr Barr said. Elections ACT is encouraging voters to head to the ballot box early to help keep voting COVID safe, avoiding crowds on the October 17 election day. Voting is open for three weeks, every day between September 28 and election day. Voters may vote at any polling place in the ACT, regardless of the electorate they are enrolled in. It is expected up to 80 per cent of Canberrans will vote before the October 17 election day.

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