Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 13 Hansard (17 November) . . Page.. 4274..
MR QUINLAN (continuing):
the proposed sale that are incurred after the payment is made can also be recovered from the debtor.
The power to sell a property to recoup a debt is currently confined to the debt on that particular parcel of land. If an owner holds more than one parcel of land and they are all in arrears, the commissioner would currently have to sell all the properties to recoup the debts. The bill expands the current provision to allow recovery of rates and land tax debts owing on other properties held by the same owner, but only if the commissioner requests such payment in the application to the court.
The new provision protects the mortgagee's interest and that of any other person with an interest in the land as well as the rights of any other interested person. These parties and the commissioner are paid before any remaining proceeds can be used to pay arrears on other parcels of land held by the same owner. The person who was the owner before the sale is only entitled to any remaining proceeds after these payments are made.
In the case where an owner is in arrears on two or more properties, the ability to use the proceeds from any one sale to pay the arrears on other properties removes the need to sell each property to recover arrears on that particular property. However, if there are insufficient proceeds from the sale of one property to pay all interested parties and outstanding rates and land tax debts, the commissioner has the power to apply to the court to sell a further property held by the same owner.
The final provision of the bill extends the existing powers of the commissioner to defer rates liabilities. Currently the commissioner may defer an eligible ratepayer's liability to pay rates if they apply for relief. Such a deferment incurs at a low rate of interest on the deferred amount, rather than compound penalty interest on an unpaid debt. Deferment also prevents the issuing of arrears notices and legal action to recover the debt. The deferment remains in place until the rates are paid or the property is sold, at which time the territory recovers the deferred amount plus interest.
There are occasions where a ratepayer's personal circumstances do not allow them to apply for a deferment. In these cases, unpaid rates accrue penalty interest, arrears notices are issued and legal action to recover the debt may be taken. To provide assistance to these owners, this bill gives the commissioner the power to defer a ratepayer's liability to rates in exceptional circumstances without an application. This power can only be used to defer rates liabilities on a residential property where the commissioner becomes aware of a ratepayer who is unable to make an application for deferment due to unusual or exceptional personal circumstances. The commissioner's decision to defer rates without an application from the owner will be subject to the normal objection and appeal rights. I commend the Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill 2005 (No 2) to the Assembly.
Debate (on motion by Mr Mulcahy ) adjourned to the next sitting.
Smoking (Prohibition in Enclosed Public Spaces) Regulation 2005
Motion for disallowance of SL 2005-21
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (10.42): I move: