Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (9 August) . . Page.. 2675..
MR HUMPHRIES: I cannot answer that question without taking it on notice. I will find out when it was and I will get back to Mr Corbell.
Stamp duty rebates
MR OSBORNE: My question is to the Treasurer. Treasurer, as you are aware, the ACT offers stamp duty rebates for home owners within certain parameters. To briefly explain to other members, there are three hurdles to qualifying. The first is that there is a full concession for a home worth less than $116,000, rising on a sliding scale until the concession cuts out for a home costing over $140,000. The second is a combined family income threshold, depending on the number of dependent children in the family. This income test excludes couples with no children who together earn more than $45,000, rising to families with five children or more that earn over $50,750. The third is that none of the property owners may have owned or partially owned a property anywhere for at least two years.
The first two criteria have become excessively restrictive. In comparison, home buyers in Queanbeyan or Jerrabomberra are generally much better off. They have no family income test and pay no stamp duty on homes costing under $175,000, which cuts out at a top rate of $250,000. However, unlike our scheme, their rebates are only for first home buyers.
Earlier this week, my office checked on the cost of several listings of homes for sale in Canberra. It should come as no surprise that there are no new homes for sale under our threshold of $140,000 and very few established homes either. Also, I doubt that families earning $45,000 would be an attractive proposition to a bank or mortgage provider.
In short, given the two first home buyers grants on offer this year, our concession schemes seem fairly useless. Would your government consider changing our concession scheme to at least the same scale as across the border so that it becomes relevant to the cost of homes in Canberra and allows home buyers to take advantage of the Commonwealth grants on offer?
MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I thank Mr Osborne for that question. He raises the issue of making parallel the concessions available in New South Wales and the ACT for such things as the purchase of homes. I understand that the ACT scheme is set at levels that Mr Osborne has suggested. On that basis, there is a case for revising those benefits to raise the threshold for the income a person may earn before they miss out on a concession. Perhaps there is also a case for considering houses in a higher price bracket to be eligible for this stamp duty concession.
I might say that, at the present time, there is no argument for the need to stimulate the building industry in the ACT. The building industry has had tremendous growth in the last few months. Last quarter it recorded one of its strongest periods of growth ever-34.7 per cent-almost as high as the growth in the last quarter before the advent of the GST, when there was a huge amount of pre-GST activity. I have no doubt that people are getting out there and buying or building their houses in the ACT.