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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 7 Hansard (5 August) . .

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payroll tax net. We have made the policy decision that we will exempt small and medium size enterprises from payroll tax in the territory. That is a comparative advantage for small and medium size enterprises to locate in Canberra. That is the bulk of our private sector. Nearly 24,000 of the 26,000 businesses that operate in the territory are exempt from payroll tax. That is the policy choice we have made. If those opposite wish to see the payroll tax net extended then, yes, you could. Theoretically, an alternative policy option would be to lower the threshold and lower the rate. (Time expired.)

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Wall.

MR WALL: Treasurer, is your payroll tax consistent with your philosophy for taxation policy generally?

MR BARR: Yes, Madam Speaker. We are reforming the territory's taxation system. We are getting rid of the most inefficient taxes. But the Liberal Party seems to have an addiction to inefficient taxes. They are the party that wishes to keep stamp duty and that wants the average homebuyer in this city to be paying $50,000 on a transaction for stamp duty to purchase the average house. By 2040 Jeremy Hanson, Alistair Coe, Brendan Smyth, Andrew Wall, Steve Doszpot, Nicole Lawder and Giulia Jones want the average Canberran to be paying $50,000 to purchase a house—just for the right to own a home, Madam Speaker. I exclude you, Madam Speaker, because you are sitting up there independently, but if you wish to join them, you can. I will add you in—Mrs Dunne also wants that.

I know the Liberal Party is opposed to sensible tax reform. We are targeting the most inefficient taxes that we levy—stamp duty and insurance tax. As I said, payroll tax is not the best tax we levy, but it is not the worst either, and that is why we have made adjustment.

Mr Smyth: It is one you're hanging on to desperately.

MR BARR: Again, if the Liberal Party wants to abolish payroll tax, where are you going to get the $300 million-odd it raises? Where are you going to get that money from? You have just delivered an estimates committee report that says spend more and tax less, and yet you are worried about debt. Well, you cannot have all of that. It is magic pudding economics again from the Liberal Party. There is one party in this place prepared to reform tax to ensure that this territory is able to meet its future service needs so we can fund the schools, the hospitals, the community services, public transport—all of the important things that this community needs with the fairest possible tax system. That is my philosophy, the Labor Party philosophy and what we are working towards.


MS BERRY: My question is to the Minister for Education and Training and Minister for the Arts. Could you please update the Assembly on upgrades to facilities in your portfolios in Tuggeranong and southern Woden and plans for future upgrades in the region, particularly in early childhood education?

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