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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 6 Hansard (7 June) . .

Page.. 1772..


Debate (on motion by Mr Hanson) adjourned to the next sitting.

Visitor

MADAM SPEAKER: Before I call Mr Barr again, I acknowledge the presence in the gallery of Mr Akbar Khan, the newly promoted Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. Welcome to the ACT Legislative Assembly.

Rates (Pensioner Rebate) Amendment Bill 2016

Mr Barr, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Tourism and Events and Minister for Urban Renewal) (3.33): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Madam Speaker, I present to the Assembly the Rates (Pensioner Rebate) Amendment Bill 2016.

As part of the 2016-17 budget, sensible and fair changes are being made to elements of the ACT concessions program as a result of the 2014-15 concessions review and the extensive community consultation process that has followed. These changes will improve equity in access to various concessions available to the community, whilst maintaining support for those community members most in need of assistance. This bill amends the assistance provided under the concessions program by the general rates rebate, administered through the Rates Act 2004. This rebate assists eligible home owners with the cost of their general rates.

Under the Rates Act, eligible pensioners can receive a rebate of general rates and the fire and emergency services levy on their principal place of residence. Eligible pensioners who received the rates rebate prior to 1 July 1997 have continued to receive a 50 per cent rebate of their general rates since that time with no monetary limit or maximum ever imposed. Therefore, whatever the rates liability, eligible participants always receive a 50 per cent discount on their rates. This rebate, known as the uncapped rebate, continues to apply until a person ceases to be an eligible pensioner for the scheme. There are approximately 3,000 households in the territory currently accessing the uncapped rebate.

Those pensioners who entered the rates rebate program on or after 1 July 1997 do not have access to the uncapped rebate but are able to access the capped rebate scheme. As the name suggests, the capped rebate does have a set limit on the amount of the rates discount. Pensioners under this scheme may receive a 50 per cent rebate of their


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