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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2013 Week 13 Hansard (31 October) . . Page.. 4127..


I am still considering whether legislative reform is required in this area, not to reduce accountability but to improve the process of ensuring that information is provided to the Assembly in a timely way. The details of all contracts tabled today will be circulated to members.

Taxation—reform

Paper and statement by minister

MR BARR (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Sport and Recreation, Minister for Tourism and Events and Minister for Community Services): For the information of members, I present the following paper:

ACT Government's Tax Reform—Modelling—Analysis undertaken—Government response, dated October 2013.

I seek leave to make a statement in relation to the paper.

Leave granted.

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MR BARR: In 2010 the ACT government commissioned a review of the ACT taxation system to advise on the efficiency and sustainability of the territory's revenue collection following the Henry tax review at the commonwealth level. The ACT review, the Quinlan review, and the commonwealth review, the Henry review, concluded that the ACT's tax system, like all other jurisdictions, is inefficient and unsustainable.

The ACT is in a unique position to pursue tax reform. It has the roles of both a state and local government and hence has access to a broad-based tax in the form of general rates.

In the 2012-13 budget, a five-year reform program was issued, and the government committed to the target of the full abolition of the inefficient taxes, particularly conveyance duty.

The first tranche of major reforms announced included abolishing duty on insurance policies over five years, abolishing conveyance duty over 20 years, abolishing commercial land tax, increasing the tax-free threshold for payroll tax, and making residential land tax and the general rates system more progressive. These reforms put the territory on a strong footing for the future and provide flexibility to deal with our demographic changes and fiscal challenges and to respond to external economic circumstances. The ACT was the first government in Australia to undertake such reform.

An underlying principle of the reform is to ensure revenue neutrality for the budget overall, whilst preserving capacity for government services and ensuring that future generations do not bear the higher economic costs of an unfair and inefficient tax


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