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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 13 Hansard (28 November) . . Page.. 4782 ..

(5) Any specific matters which may require extension of the terms of the 2017 policing agreement or the Commonwealth legislative instruments, and potentially effect better policing outcomes for a greater focus on service delivery;

(6) Other matters which are relevant to this inquiry; and

(7) The committee is to report by the last sitting day in August 2020.

Executive business—precedence

Ordered that executive business be called on.

Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (No 2)

Debate resumed from 24 October 2019, on motion by Mr Barr:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (4.03): The Greens will be supporting this bill. The bill makes a large number of changes to the ACT's key tax laws. These are, by and large, minor and technical in nature, and will either fix errors or help the public service to do their job more effectively. The Greens regularly support technical changes to legislation that aid the work of the public service where the changes do not conflict with our social, environmental and economic justice principles. That is the case with this bill. Therefore rather than addressing each change individually, I will make an overarching point about tax administration.

Tax administration needs to be done sensitively, while always being aware that some taxpayers are in genuine financial hardship or are in a difficult situation because of a genuine mistake. These people need to be treated with care. This is a topic that members may recall I have spoken on at length on several occasions, and indeed I moved a motion on it at around this time last year. However, I think that it is worth expanding on, because it is a critical issue that I do not think has always been well managed in the ACT.

Most people pay their tax, maybe not with joy, but willingly because they know that taxation pays for the services they need and for a fair society. However, there will always be some people who do not pay their tax. Broadly, these people will be in three categories: firstly, those who are deliberately avoiding tax; secondly, those who make a mistake because they were confused, they received bad advice or they did not know what was going on et cetera; and, thirdly, those who are suffering financial hardship.

People who are avoiding tax do not get much sympathy from the Greens. By not paying their tax, they are letting down the rest of society. They are increasing the burden on the rest of us, and I am happy for the revenue office to crack down hard on them.

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