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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (30 August) . . Page.. 3759..


MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, the only waste of time was due to the fact that when the government wanted to put forward its draft variation on Gungahlin Drive in 1999 the Greens and the Labor Party sent it off to a committee.

Ms Tucker: Oh, that was a pity.

Mr Corbell: Oh, that was a crime, wasn't it.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Settle down.

MR SMYTH: This DVP and the process could have occurred two years ago. That was the only waste. The people who have stood in the way of the residents of Gungahlin getting the sort of transport that they deserve are those opposite.

Mr Speaker, we have laid out our plan. We have a five-year road plan. Because we have made up for Labor's $344 million operating loss we have the money in the outyears to carry out the plan. Why? Good financial management, good planning and a view to the future.

Payroll tax

MR QUINLAN: My question is directed to the Chief Minister. It relates to the Auditor-General's Report No 5, 2001-Administration of payroll tax, which was brought down last week. There has not been sufficient time for that to be reviewed by the exemplary committee system that we run; nevertheless, it deserves an answer. So, would the Chief Minister like to give his assessment of this report? Is it an indicator of the financial management of the Carnell/Humphries government since 1996-which is the period of the review-or would he put it down to being just an aberration?

MR HUMPHRIES: I thank Mr Quinlan for that question. It is worth recording a few things about the report of the Auditor-General on this area of government tax collection. The Auditor acknowledges that existing practices and procedures are generally effective in achieving what they are intended to achieve. It is also a fact of life that a level of revenue leakage can be expected from all self-assessed taxes, such as payroll tax.

The issue of how a small revenue office can best allocate resources over a wide range of taxes to achieve optimum revenue outcomes for the territory is one that has been raised by the report of the Auditor-General. Neither the department's records nor the Auditor-General's reports reflect that there has been a material revenue loss. Revenue from existing compliance activity certainly exceeds output targets, and the amounts detected are small relative to total parallel tax collections.

Also, the results of existing compliance activity cannot validly be used to extrapolate and determine revenue leakage, as such activity uses targeting techniques and is not random. In other words, there is no assumption that, because you have looked at a particular place and found a certain amount of tax that has not been paid, if you multiply that by the number of other workplaces there are in the ACT, you will therefore find the amount of tax that has been avoided.


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