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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 4 March 2004) . . Page.. 732 ..

Public Accounts—Standing Committee

Report 8

MR SMYTH (Leader of the Opposition) (12.03): Mr Speaker, I present the following report:

Public Accounts—Standing Committee—Report 8—Revenue Raising Issues in the ACT, dated 25 February 2004, together with a copy of the extracts of the relevant minutes of proceedings.

I ask for leave to move a motion that the report be authorised for publication.

Leave granted.

MR SMYTH: I move:

That the report be authorised for publication.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I move:

That the report be noted.

Mr Speaker and members, Revenue raising issues in the ACT is a very interesting report from the Public Accounts Committee. The Public Accounts Committee determined to look at this in late 2002 and the amount of discussion that we have had in the deliberative phase of the inquiry is an indication of just how complex an issue this truly is.

There are 16 recommendations in the report. With regard to raising awareness about how we raise revenue, recommendation 3 is very important. The committee has recommended that the community engagement unit be tasked with developing a strategy to inform the community about how revenue is raised and what the limitations are. Because of the small number of submissions that we received, I suspect that the community understands little of how its taxes are raised, how we take taxes off the public and then how we spend them—how we make those decisions. It is very important that people realise how their money is being spent.

There was a small article in Monday’s Canberra Times that said people were willing to pay more taxes if it was spent specifically on health. Such issues are the ones that we need to look at as legislators and that we need to talk to the community about, so they understand what does go on around them.

Mr Speaker, we considered the evidence we received about our revenue-raising capacity against the terms of reference criteria of adequacy, equity, efficiency, certainty and sustainability. I think it is fair to say that, in relation to adequacy, we concluded that the ACT has significant limitations on its revenue-raising capacity and that there could be some merit in considering guidelines that could be used to determine the adequacy of the revenue-raising measures and policies as they are currently in place.

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