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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 4 Hansard (11 April) . . Page.. 971..

Thursday, 11 April 2002

MR SPEAKER (Mr Berry) took the chair at 10.30 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

First Home Owner Grant Amendment Bill 2002

Mr Quinlan, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism, Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming and Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Corrections) (10.32): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, by way of background, the ACT is party to the intergovernmental agreement on the reform of Commonwealth-state financial relations. This agreement requires the ACT to administer the first home owners scheme on the Commonwealth's behalf, which includes compliance activities. The grant was introduced to alleviate the effect of GST on new home owners. The First Home Owner Grant Act 2001 has provided the legislative powers for the Commissioner for ACT Revenue to administer the first home owners scheme since 1 July 2001. All grants paid under the first home owners scheme are fully funded by the Commonwealth.

Members of the Assembly may recall that on 9 March 2001 an additional $7,000 grant was introduced for first home buyers purchasing a new home to provide a short-term stimulus to the building industry. The additional grant applied to eligible contracts to buy or build new homes entered into from 9 March 2001 to 31 December 2001, inclusive. In effect, approved purchasers of new homes received a total first home owners grant of $14,000.

On 9 October 2001, the Prime Minister announced that a re-elected coalition government would extend the additional grant to 30 June 2002. However, the additional grant amount would be phased down to $3,000, instead of the original $7,000, for eligible contracts to buy or build a new home entered into from 1 January 2002 to 30 June 2002, inclusive. This bill introduces amendments to the First Home Owner Grant Act which will provide the necessary legislative support for the ACT government to administer the Commonwealth's extension of the additional grant to eligible first home purchasers of new homes.

The Prime Minister also announced more liberal commencement and completion requirements for applications. These requirements apply to contracts entered into on or after the date of the Prime Minister's announcement on 9 October 2001. The new commencement and completion requirements for the additional grant are that the construction of the home must commence within 26 weeks of entering into the contract, instead of 16 weeks under the original scheme, and the contract must specify

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